John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Metabolomics confirms that dissolved organic carbon mitigates copper toxicity

Reductions in atmospheric emissions from the metal smelters in Sudbury, Canada, produced major improvements in acid and metal contamination of local lakes and indirectly increased dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations; however, metal toxicity has remained a persistent problem for aquatic biota. Integrating high‐throughput, non‐targeted mass spectrometry metabolomics with conventional toxicological measures elucidated the mediating effects of dissolved organic matter (DOM) on the toxicity of Cu to Daphnia pulex‐pulicaria, a hybrid isolated from these soft water lakes. Two generations of daphniids were exposed to Cu (0‐20 µg/L) at increasing levels of natural DOM (0‐4 mg DOC/L). Added DOM reduced Cu toxicity monotonically with LC50 values increasing from 2.3 µg/L Cu without DOM to 22.7 µg/L Cu at 4 mg DOC/L. Reproductive output similarly benefited, increasing with DOM, yet falling with increases in Cu. Second generation reproduction was more impaired than the first generation. DOM had a greater influence than Cu on the metabolic status of the daphniids. Putative identification of metabolite peaks indicated that DOM elevation increased the metabolic energy status of the first generation animals, but this benefit was reduced in the second generation, while evidence of increased oxidative stress was detected. These results indicate that Sudbury's terrestrial ecosystems should be managed to increase aquatic DOM supply to enable daphniid colonists to both survive and foster stable populations. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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