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Title: An alien metabolite vs. a synthetic chemical hazard: an ecotoxicological comparison in the Mediterranean blue mussel
Author: Russo, Tania
Coppola, Francesca
Leite, Carla
Carbone, Marianna
Paris, Debora
Motta, Andrea
Di Cosmo, Anna
Soares, Amadeu M. V. M.
Mollo, Ernesto
Freitas, Rosa
Polese, Gianluca
Keywords: Invasive species
Mytilus galloprovincialis
Biochemical markers
Issue Date: 29-May-2023
Publisher: Elsevier
Abstract: Bioactive natural products from marine invasive species may dramatically impact native communities, while many synthetic pharmaceutical drugs are released into the marine environment and have long-lasting harmful effects on aquatic life. Sometimes, metabolites from alien species and synthetic compounds share similar mechanisms of action, suggesting comparable ecotoxicological impacts. This applies to the alkaloid caulerpin (CAU) from the green alga Caulerpa cylindracea, highly invasive in the Mediterranean Sea, and to the synthetic lipid-lowering drug fenofibrate (FFB), both acting as agonists of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs). Analogies with FFB, which is widely considered hazardous to the aquatic environment, have led to concerns about the ecotoxicological potential of CAU. The problem has implications for public health as CAU is well known to enter the food web accumulating in fish of commercial importance. Here, we compared the effects of FFB and CAU through biochemical and histopathological analysis on a relevant bioindicator molluscan species, the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. Under laboratory conditions, mussels were fed with food enriched with CAU or FFB. After treatment, biochemical markers were analyzed revealing metabolic capacity impairments, cellular damage, and changes in acetylcholinesterase activity in mussels fed with FFB-enriched food. NMR-based metabolomic studies also showed significant alterations in the metabolic profiles of FFB-treated mussels. In addition, dietary administration of FFB produced morphological alterations in the mussels' gills and digestive tubules. Obtained results confirm that FFB is harmful to aquatic life and that its release into the environment should be avoided. Conversely, dietary treatment with CAU did not produce any significant alterations in the mussels. Overall, our results pave the way for the possible valorization of the huge biomass from one of the world's worst invasive species to obtain CAU, a natural product of interest in drug discovery.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.164476
ISSN: 0048-9697
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