Recent research has shown that several Baltic species suffer from health problems probably caused by disturbed energy metabolisms and/or thiamine deficiency. The severity and extension of this health issues cannot be explained solely by the increase in anthropogenic substances. Other ecological changes (e.g. eutrophication) can lead to an increased exposure to naturally-produced substances such as halogenated phenols (HPCs). There is scientific evidence that HPCs affect cellular energy production negatively in vitro and it is indicated that others can inactivate thiamine. But less is known about the in vivo effects.
This issue is of particular interest since naturally-produced substances normally are overlooked although many species in the Baltic Sea are exposed to high levels of HPCs. Within the project HPCs will be measured the energy metabolism monitored in perch over time. Identified HPCs will be studied in the laboratory for their possible effects on the energy metabolism using zebrafish as a screening system. A variety of metabolic parameters together with metabolomic and transcriptomic changes will be analyzed and linked to wildlife data. New insights on the effect of environmental contaminants on the energy metabolism will be gained. Furthermore environmental relevant mixtures will be studied. Our results will help to better understand whether alterations in the energy metabolism caused by natural HPCs could lead to the health problems observed in the Baltic fauna.
Dr Marja Lamoree