With the development of techniques to non-lethally biopsy tissue from unionids, a new method is available to measure changes in biochemical, contaminant, and genetic constituents in this imperiled faunal group. However, before its widespread application, information on the variability of biochemical components within and among tissues needs to be evaluated. We measured glycogen concentrations in foot and mantle tissue in Amblema plicata plicata (Say, 1817) to determine if glycogen was evenly distributed within and between tissues and to determine which tissue might be more responsive to the stress associated with relocating mussels. Glycogen was measured in two groups of mussels: those sampled from their native environment (undisturbed mussels) and quickly frozen for analysis and those relocated into an artificial pond (relocated mussels) for 24 months before analysis. In both undisturbed and relocated mussels, glycogen concentrations were evenly distributed within foot, but not within mantle tissue. In mantle tissue, concentrations of glycogen varied about 2-fold among sections. In addition, glycogen varied significantly between tissues in undisturbed mussels, but not in relocated mussels. Twenty-four months after relocation, glycogen concentrations had declined by 80% in mantle tissue and by 56% in foot tissue relative to the undisturbed mussels. These data indicate that representative biopsy samples can be obtained from foot tissue, but not mantle tissue. We hypothesize that mantle tissue could be more responsive to the stress of relocation due to its high metabolic activity associated with shell formation.
Additional publication details
Variation in glycogen concentrations within mantle and foot tissue in Amblema plicata plicata: Implications for tissue biopsy sampling