Polymethylene-interrupted fatty acids: Biomarkers for native and exotic mussels in the Laurentian Great Lakes

Journal of Great Lakes Research
By: , and 

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Abstract

Freshwater organisms synthesize a wide variety of fatty acids (FAs); however, the ability to synthesize and/or subsequently modify a particular FA is not universal, making it possible to use certain FAs as biomarkers. Herein we document the occurrence of unusual FAs (polymethylene-interrupted fatty acids; PMI-FAs) in select freshwater organisms in the Laurentian Great Lakes. We did not detect PMI-FAs in: (a) natural seston from Lake Erie and Hamilton Harbor (Lake Ontario), (b) various species of laboratory-cultured algae including a green alga (Scenedesmus obliquus), two cyanobacteria (Aphanizomenon flos-aquae and Synechococystis sp.), two diatoms (Asterionella formosa, Diatoma elongatum) and a chrysophyte (Dinobryon cylindricum) or, (c) zooplankton (Daphnia spp., calanoid or cyclopoid copepods) from Lake Ontario, suggesting that PMI-FAs are not substantively incorporated into consumers at the phytoplankton–zooplankton interface. However, these unusual FAs comprised 4-6% of total fatty acids (on a dry tissue weight basis) of native fat mucket (Lampsilis siliquoidea) and plain pocketbook (L. cardium) mussels and in invasive zebra (Dreissena polymorpha) and quagga (D. bugensis) mussels. We were able to clearly partition Great Lakes' mussels into three separate groups (zebra, quagga, and native mussels) based solely on their PMI-FA profiles. We also provide evidence for the trophic transfer of PMI-FAs from mussels to various fishes in Lakes Ontario and Michigan, further underlining the potential usefulness of PMI-FAs for tracking the dietary contribution of mollusks in food web and contaminant-fate studies.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Polymethylene-interrupted fatty acids: Biomarkers for native and exotic mussels in the Laurentian Great Lakes
Series title Journal of Great Lakes Research
Volume 37
Issue 2
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Publisher location Amsterdam, Netherlands
Contributing office(s) Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
Description 9 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Great Lakes Research
First page 289
Last page 297
Country United States;Canada
Other Geospatial Lake Erie;Lake Ontario
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