Cell-Based metabolomics for untargeted screening and prioritization of vertebrate-active stressors in streams across the United States

Environmental Science & Technology
By: , and 

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Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have assessed contaminants in 38 streams across the U.S., using an extensive suite of target-chemical analysis methods along with a variety of biological effects tools. Here we report zebrafish liver (ZFL) cell-culture based NMR metabolomic analysis of these split stream samples. We used this untargeted approach to evaluate the sites according to overall impact on the ZFL metabolome and found that neither the total number of organics detected at the sites, nor their cumulative concentrations, were good predictors of these impacts. Further, we used partial-least squares regression to compare ZFL endogenous metabolite profiles to values for 455 potential stressors (organics, inorganics, and physical properties) measured in these waters and found that the profiles covaried with at most 280 of the stressors, which were subsequently ranked into quartiles based on the strength of their covariance. While contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) were well represented in the top, most strongly, covarying quartile – suggesting considerable potential for eliciting biological responses at these sites – there was even higher representation of various well-characterized legacy contaminants (e.g., PCBs). These results emphasize the importance of complementing chemical analysis with untargeted bioassays to help focus regulatory efforts on the most significant ecosystem threats.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Cell-Based metabolomics for untargeted screening and prioritization of vertebrate-active stressors in streams across the United States
Series title Environmental Science & Technology
DOI 10.1021/acs.est.9b02736
Volume 53
Issue 15
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher American Chemical Society
Contributing office(s) South Atlantic Water Science Center
Description 9 p.
First page 9232
Last page 9240