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Selected enzymes and heat shock protein 70 as biomarkers of pollution in the reproductive organs of freshwater fish.

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dc.contributor.author Barnhoorn, Irene Ellen
dc.date.accessioned 2008-09-11T10:25:31Z
dc.date.available 2008-09-11T10:25:31Z
dc.date.issued 2008-09-11T10:25:31Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/1010
dc.description.abstract The biological integrity of aquatic ecosystems has become threatened by the effects of eutrophication, acidification as well as increased organic and inorganic chemical loads. It is necessary to identify the effects of xenobiotics before the onset of death in an exposed organism or deteriorating changes at population level. Biochemical and physiological indicators such as enzymes and stress proteins could be used as a valuable tool for detecting chemical exposure and evaluating their effects on aquatic organisms. The use of selected enzymes in different organs/tissue was evaluated as possible indicators of stress in fish, in their natural environment as well as under controlled laboratory conditions. During the field assessment of enzymes it was found that selected enzymes could be used as indicators of pollution between high flow and low flow seasons when pollution conditions are more concentrated. However, the various enzymes are non-specific indicators of stress and could therefore, be influenced by environmental changes, handling and struggling in the nets. Exposure to sub-lethal and lethal iron concentrations caused significant differences between the levels of enzymes in exposed and control Oreochromis mossambicus, indicating that the use of enzymes under controlled laboratory conditions, toxicity testing is more effective. The demand for sensitive and specific biological assays needed to be satisfied. Heat shock induction after sub-lethal iron exposure was investigated in the reproductive organs/gonads of O. mossambicus. After the refinement of the standard protocol for the assessment of Heat shock protein 70 (HSP 70) it was found that HSP 70 induction are more intense in male individuals than in female individuals. Higher protein concentrations were also found in female reproduction organs possibly due to the presence of vitellogenin. The use of HSP 70 as a diagnostic tool to monitor cell damage after sub-lethal iron exposure was less effective due to several factors including (1) the selection of the target organ, (2) the different stages of sexual development between individuals, (3) the selection of the exposure toxicant and (4) the presence of another stress protein in female gonads. Most researchers use the Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry (AAS) method to determine the metal content in fish organs/tissues. During this research it was attempted to find a more time effective, rapid, less hazardous and more economic method to determine metal content in fish organs/tissues. After comparison between the AAS method and Scanning Electron Microscope Energy Dispersive X-ray (SEM-EDX) microanalyses the AAS method was found to be the most effective method to determine metal content in fish organs/tissues. SEM-EDX microanalyses techniques need more refined sample preparation, calibration and operation skills. en
dc.description.sponsorship Prof. J.H.J Van Vuren en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject aquatic ecology en
dc.subject water pollution en
dc.subject biochemical markers en
dc.subject freshwater fishes en
dc.title Selected enzymes and heat shock protein 70 as biomarkers of pollution in the reproductive organs of freshwater fish. en
dc.type Thesis en

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