John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Aqueous and lipid NMR metabolomic profiles of the earthworm Aporrectodea caliginosa show potential as an indicator species for environmental metabolomics

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The common pasture earthworm Aporrectodea caliginosa has often been neglected in environmental metabolomics in favour of easily laboratory‐bred species. The present study assigns aqueous metabolites in A. caliginosa using high resolution 1‐ and 2‐dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. In total 51 aqueous metabolites were identified, including typical amino acids (alanine, leucine, asparagine, phenylalanine), sugars (maltose, glucose), the dominant earthworm‐specific 2‐hexyl‐5‐ethyl‐furansulfonate and several previously unreported metabolites (oxoglutarate, putrescine). Examining the lesser known earthworm lipid metabolome showed various lipid fatty acyl chains, cholesterol and phosphatidylcholine. To briefly test if the NMR metabolomic techniques could differentiate A. caliginosa from different sites, earthworms were collected from 2 adjacent farms. Orthogonal partial least squares discriminant analysis detected metabolomic differences suggesting the worms from the 2 sites differed in their energy metabolism, as indicated by altered levels of alanine, glutamine, glutamate, malate, fumarate and lipids. Evidence of greater utilization of lipid energy reserves and onset of protein catabolism were also present. While the precise cause of the metabolomic differences could not be determined, the results show the potential of this species for further environmental metabolomic studies. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2014 SETAC

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