Ecotoxicology (London, England)

A cost or a benefit? Counterintuitive effects of diet quality and cadmium in Lymnaea stagnalis.

PMID 27663695


Diet quality can have a strong impact on organismal fitness although diet quality is infrequently considered as a factor in toxicity tests. The purpose of this study was to assess how diets differing in nutritional content affect sensitivity to Cd as measured by several sublethal responses related directly to bioenergetics. We evaluated feeding rate, growth rate, behavior and macronutrient content in the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis exposed to Cd and fed two different diets. Hatchlings were fed either lettuce or high-caloric pellets, and exposed to 5, 10, and 20 µg/L Cd for 12 days. Length and weight were measured at the beginning and end of the test. The amount of food eaten and behavior were determined every two days. Total lipids, proteins and carbohydrates were biochemically measured at test end. For the second part of the study, snails were fed either lettuce or pellets for 2 weeks and then exposed to high challenge concentrations of Cd. Growth coefficients based on length and weight were significantly higher for snails fed pellets. In addition, snails exposed to Cd had significantly smaller growth coefficients than those in the control for both diets. Total carbohydrates and lipids were higher for snails fed pellets while the protein content was not significantly affected by Cd or diets. Even though snails fed pellets grew significantly faster, contrary to expectations they were significantly more sensitive to Cd compared to those fed lettuce. This study provides evidence that a bioenergetics-based approach can been used to better understand how diet can affect the ecotoxicity of chemical stressors to freshwater gastropods.

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Cadmium chloride, 99.99% trace metals basis