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Application of NMR-based Metabolomics for Environmental Assessment in the Great Lakes using Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) polymorpha)



Miki Watanabe, Katherine Meyer, Tyler Jackson, Tracey Johnston, Ed Johnson, Dan Bearden


Zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, in the Great Lakes is being monitored as a bio-indicator organism for environmental health effects by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Mussel Watch program. In order to monitor the environmental effects of historical industrial pollution on the ecosystem, invasive zebra mussels were collected from four stations - three inner harbor sites (LMMB4, LMMB1, and LMMB) in Milwaukee Estuary, and one reference site (LMMB5) in Lake Michigan, Wisconsin. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)-based metabolomics was used to evaluate the metabolic profiles of the mussels from these four sites. The objective was to observe whether there were differences in metabolite profiles between impacted sites and the reference site; and if there were metabolic profile differences among the impacted sites. Principal component analyses (PCA) indicated there was no significant difference between two impacted sites: north Milwaukee harbor (LMMB and LMMB4) and the LMMB5 reference site. However, significant metabolic differences were observed between the impacted site on the south Milwaukee harbor (LMMB1) and the LMMB5 reference site. A total of 26 altered metabolites (including 2 unidentified peaks) were successfully identified in a comparison of zebra mussels from the LMMB1 site and LMMB5 reference site. The application of both uni- and multivariate analysis not only confirmed the variability of altered metabolites but also ensured that these metabolites were identified via unbiased analysis. This study has demonstrated the feasibility of the NMR-based metabolomics approach to assess whole-body metabolomics of zebra mussels to study the physiological impact of toxicant exposure at field sites.


Metabolomics, NMR, biomarker, mussel, pollution, nuclear magnetic resonance, principal components analysis, SRM


Watanabe, M. , Meyer, K. , Jackson, T. , Johnston, T. , Johnson, E. and Bearden, D. (2015), Application of NMR-based Metabolomics for Environmental Assessment in the Great Lakes using Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) polymorpha), Metabolomics, [online], (Accessed April 16, 2024)
Created February 20, 2015, Updated October 12, 2021