Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987)

Integrated analysis of the ecotoxicological and genotoxic effects of the antimicrobial peptide melittin on Daphnia magna and Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata.

PMID 25884346


Melittin is a major constituent of the bee venom of Apis mellifera with a broad spectrum of activities. Melittin therapeutical potential is subject to its toxicity and the assessment of ecotoxicity and genotoxicity is of particular interest for therapeutic use. Here we analyzed the biological effects of melittin on two aquatic species, which are representative of two different levels of the aquatic trophic chain: the invertebrate Daphnia magna and the unicellular microalgae Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata. The attention was focused on the determination of: i) ecotoxicity; ii) genotoxicity; iii) antigenotoxicity. Our main finding is that melittin is detrimental to D. magna reproduction and its sub-lethal concentrations create an accumulation dependent on exposition times and a negative effect on DNA. We also observed that melittin significantly delayed time to first eggs. Moreover, results showed that melittin exerted its toxic and genotoxic effects in both species, being a bit more aggressive towards P. subcapitata.