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Untargeted metabolomics analyses and contaminant chemistry of Dreissenid mussels at the Maumee River Area of Concern in the Great Lakes



Tracey Schock, Daniel Bearden, Fabio Casu, Michael Edwards, Annie Jacob, Edward Johnson, Amanda Bayless, Elena Legrand


Bivalves stand out as an ideal ecological indicator and have been the basis of NOAA's Mussel Watch Program to monitor environmental health. In this study, we aimed to investigate the health of the Dreissenid mussel in the Maumee River. In addition to the chemical body burden, we investigated the freshwater mussel metabolome using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Dreissenids were caged at four locations along the Maumee River for 30 days. We identified changes in the mussel metabolome along the river; energy metabolism and amino acids were particularly affected. The upstream site was characterized by the presence of atrazine and metolachlor. The highest cumulative concentration of PAHs, PCBs, PPCPs, PBDEs, and alkylphenols was identified at a downstream site located at Toledo's wastewater treatment plant. While these two sites presented a specific chemical signature in the mussel tissue, the association of the metabolome to the chemical load was unclear. We also identified other potential factors that may contribute to metabolic differences such as hypoxic environment and food limitation. This study also highlighted the importance of considering seasonality or handling method effects on the metabolome at the time of sampling. The sensitivity of metabolomics research requires a complete understanding of the natural metabolic cycle through seasons and the effect of external factors, such as handling, in order to assess a health state indicative of environmental exposure. In this regard, we suggest further knowledge of the dreissenid mussel biology before successfully being implemented in a metabolomics biomonitoring program.
Environmental Science and Technology


Biomonitoring, Dreissenid mussel, ecotoxicology, metabolomics, NMR


Schock, T. , Bearden, D. , Casu, F. , Edwards, M. , Jacob, A. , Johnson, E. , Bayless, A. and Legrand, E. (2023), Untargeted metabolomics analyses and contaminant chemistry of Dreissenid mussels at the Maumee River Area of Concern in the Great Lakes, Environmental Science and Technology, [online], (Accessed June 19, 2024)


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Created November 22, 2023, Updated December 6, 2023