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Reproducible (1)H NMR-Based Metabolomic Responses in Fish Exposed to Different Sewage Effluents in Two Separate Studies.

Journal article
Authors Linda Samuelsson
Berndt Björlenius
Lars Förlin
D. G. Joakim Larsson
Published in Environmental science & technology
Volume 45
Issue 4
Pages 1703-1710
ISSN 1520-5851
Publication year 2011
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Department of Zoology, Zoophysiology
Pages 1703-1710
Language en
Subject categories Animal physiology, Medical and Health Sciences


Treated sewage effluents contain complex mixtures of micropollutants, raising concerns about effects on aquatic organisms. The addition of advanced treatment steps has therefore been suggested. However, some of these could potentially produce effluents affecting exposed organisms by unknown modes of action. Here, (1)H NMR (proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy) metabolomics of fish blood plasma was used to explore potential responses not identified by more targeted (chemical or biological) assays. Rainbow trout was exposed in parallel to six differently treated effluents (e.g., conventional activated sludge, addition of sand filter, further addition of ozonation and/or a moving bed biofilm reactor or a separate membrane bioreactor line). Multivariate data analysis showed changes in the metabolome (HDL, LDL, VLDL and glycerol-containing lipids, cholesterol, glucose, phosphatidylcholine, glutamine, and alanine) between treatment groups. This formed the basis for postulating a hypothesis on how exposure to effluent treated by certain processes, including ozonation, would affect the metabolic profiles of exposed fish. The hypothesis withstood testing in an independent study the following year. To conclude, (1)H NMR metabolomics proved suitable for identifying physiological responses not identified by more targeted assays used in parallel studies. Whether these changes are linked to adverse effects remains to be tested.

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