Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

An enzyme in fish can demonstrate environmental toxins

09.11.2011
The level of the enzyme carbonyl reductase (CBR) is elevated in the livers of fish that have been exposed to cleaned wastewater.

Scientists at the University of Gothenburg can show that CBR has properties that may make it suitable to be used as a biomarker, an early warning signal of environmental toxins. The aim of the project is to achieve better environmental monitoring.


Eelpout is a species used in the Swedish monitoring of environmental toxins. Since it is a stationary fish, it can be used to couple local releases of environmental toxins to their effects in exposed animals. Photo: University of Gothenburg/Joachim Sturve

"While chemists measure the levels of environmental toxins, we biologists monitor their effects. We can use biomarkers to discover these effects before the levels of toxins have become fatal. The increased CBR level in fish is probably caused by chemicals in the water. This means that CBR may be a useful biomarker," says Eva Albertsson, research student in the Department of Zoology at the University of Gothenburg.

Our sewage treatment plants have been designed to remove nutrients from wastewater, but they are not very good at removing many other substances. Fish downstream of the treatment plants thus live in an environment that is filled with both toxic and non-toxic substances. Eva Albertsson's thesis presents work carried out at the Gråbo treatment plant. It turned out that fish downstream of the plant had higher levels of an enzyme, CBR, in the liver than fish living upstream of the plant. Similar effects were seen also at the Borås treatment plant.

It is known that CBR in humans can protect against oxidative stress, which is a harmful reaction that the body activates in response to certain substances. Thus, the elevated levels of CBR we have seen in fish may not be harmful: they may act as protection. The elevated levels, however, may be an indication that there are substances in the cleaned wastewater that cause oxidative stress, which may in the long term develop to give harmful effects.

The substances that cause oxidative stress are present at different levels in some water, such as, for example, the water that is downstream of a sewage treatment plant. Metals, pesticides and substances that form during incomplete combustion are examples of substances that act in such a manner. Eva Albertsson has studied rainbow trout and eelpout, and shown that fish that are exposed to substances known to cause oxidative stress had higher levels of CBR. This means that the enzyme is suitable for use as a biomarker, an early warning signal, that can be used by scientists and authorities whose task is to monitor the effects of environmental toxins.

The thesis From Proteomic Analysis to Biomarker Application - Studies of Carbonyl Reductase in Fish has been successfully defended at a disputation held at the University of Gothenburg.

For more information, please contact: Eva Albertsson
Tel: +46 31 786 3683
Mobile: +46 73 969 6216
E-mail: eva.albertsson@zool.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://hdl.handle.net/2077/26664
http://www.gu.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Microscope measures muscle weakness
16.11.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

nachricht Good preparation is half the digestion
16.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>