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Your Environment. Your Health.

Progress Reports: University of Washington: Environmental Stress Indicators for Fish at Superfund Sites: GC-MS and FT-IR Markers of Contaminant-Induced Damage to Gill Tissue

Superfund Research Program

Environmental Stress Indicators for Fish at Superfund Sites: GC-MS and FT-IR Markers of Contaminant-Induced Damage to Gill Tissue

Project Leader: Donald C. Malins (Pacific NW Research Institute)
Grant Number: P42ES004696
Funding Period: 1995 - 2006

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This project is directed toward the identification of biomarkers for assessing the effects of environmental chemicals on wild fish populations at Superfund sites.  Consistent with this goal, Dr. Malins and his research team have previously shown with gills from Puget Sound fish (English sole) that their FT-IR spectroscopic models of DNA, as well as DNA models based on liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) and gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS), provide biomarkers with a high potential for making these assessment.

Project researchers have now shown that comparable biomarker information can be obtained using the liver from the same Puget Sound fish.  In this study, the DNA from fish inhabiting a known contaminated site had a unique DNA structure likely arising from contaminant exposures to reactive oxygen species (ROS) and other DNA reactive substances.  The “DNA damage index” project researchers developed previously for the fish gills was found to be equally efficacious for the liver in that fish from the contaminated site were readily distinguished statistically from the reference site fish.

The project researchers are presently evaluating data from a comparable study of fish (Surf perch) from California--San Francisco Bay and the reference site, Tomales Bay.  These results will provide useful comparative information on the application of their biomarkers to a different fish species living in a different environment.  They expect to write a manuscript on the findings early in 2006.

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