Taylor, Nadine Suzanne (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Current regulatory risk assessment strategies have several limitations, such as linking subcellular changes to higher-level biological effects, and an improved knowledge-based approach is needed. Ecotoxicogenomic techniques have been proposed as having the potential to overcome the current limitations, providing greater mechanistic information for ecotoxicological testing. In this thesis, metabolomics is explored as a novel method for toxicity testing using Daphnia magna. Initially I evaluated the potential application of Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR MS) based metabolomics for use in regulatory toxicity testing. Subsequently, I aimed to use this approach to discriminate between toxicant modes of action (MOA) and to link toxicant induced metabolic effects to reduced reproductive output in D. magna. FT-ICR MS metabolomics was determined to be a feasible approach for toxicity testing of both whole-organism homogenates and haemolymph of D. magna. It is capable of discriminating between life-stages of D. magna as well as determining toxicant-induced metabolic effects. Highly predictive multivariate classification models were capable of significantly discriminating between four different toxicant MOAs; achievable in both haemolymph and whole-organism extracts, with the latter being the more information-rich sample type. Multivariate regression models were predictive of reduced reproductive output in D. magna following toxicant exposure, and determined that a metabolic biomarker signature was significantly able to predict the reproductive output of D. magna. Ultimately this research has concluded that an FT-ICR MS metabolomics approach for use in regulatory toxicity testing using Daphnia magna is both viable and can provide valuable information.
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