Scientia Marina, Vol 78, No 1 (2014)

Effects of water-borne copper on the survival, antioxidant status, metallothionein-I mRNA expression and physiological responses of the Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis (Decapoda: Brachyura) larvae

Shengming Sun
Key Laboratory of Genetic Breeding and Aquaculture Biology of Freshwater Fishes, Ministry of Agriculture, Freshwater Fisheries Research Center, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences - School of Life Science, Dalian Ocean University , China

Xianping Ge
Key Laboratory of Genetic Breeding and Aquaculture Biology of Freshwater Fishes, Ministry of Agriculture, Freshwater Fisheries Research Center, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences , China

Jian Zhu
Key Laboratory of Genetic Breeding and Aquaculture Biology of Freshwater Fishes, Ministry of Agriculture, Freshwater Fisheries Research Center, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences , China

Hongtuo Fu
Key Laboratory of Genetic Breeding and Aquaculture Biology of Freshwater Fishes, Ministry of Agriculture, Freshwater Fisheries Research Center, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences , China

Zhiqiang Jiang
School of Life Science, Dalian Ocean University , China


The lethal concentration of water-borne copper in Chinese mitten crab Eriocheir sinensis larvae was tested by exposing the animals to 0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.5 and 0.8 mg Cu L-1 at 20°C for 96 h. The 96-h median lethal concentration (LC50) and its corresponding 95% confident interval was estimated on zoea 1 larvae and megalopa larvae, respectively. Acute dissolved copper toxicity was higher for zoea 1 larvae (0.16 mg L-1) than for megalopa larvae (0.21 mg L-1). The antioxidant status, metallothionein-I mRNA expression and physiological response of the crab to copper toxicity was further investigated by exposing the megalopa larvae to 0, 0.08 and 0.16 mg Cu L-1 for 96 h. The superoxide dismutase activity, catalase activity, glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity and lipid peroxidation content of megalopa larvae increased concomitantly with the exposure time and copper concentration. MT-I mRNA expression levels were positively correlated with both the concentration and duration of copper exposure. The oxygen consumption and respiratory quotient of megalopa larvae in response to 0.16 mg L-1 copper were significantly higher than those in the control group after 96 h of exposure (P < 0.05). The results of this study highlight the potential effects of copper as a common stressor in E. sinensis larvae. MT-I and GST appear to be suitable biomarkers of environmental copper exposure stress in E. sinensis larvae


Eriocheir sinensis; copper toxicity; physiological; larvae; antioxidant enzyme; metallothionein

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