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Open Access

A biochemical approach to assessment of effects of organic pollution on the metabolism of the non-opportunistic polychaete,Glycera alba

  • J. Blackstock1
Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen33:BF02414778


Loch Creran and Loch Eil, sea lochs in the west of Scotland, both receive discharges of particulate organic effluent from industrial installations.Glycera alba (Müller) is widely distributed in the sediments of both lochs, and assays of activities of enzymes associated with energy-yielding metabolism have been done on crude extracts of specimens collected from variously affected areas. Mean phosphofructokinase activities were low in extracts ofG. alba collected some 400 m from the source of effluent from a seaweed processing factory, increased to a maximum at 900 m and declined slightly at 1150 m where the sediment is little affected by the effluent. Pyruvate kinase activities exhibited qualitatively similar changes of lesser magnitude and no differences ina-glycerophosphate or malate dehydrogenase activities were observed. InG. alba from Loch Eil a relationship was established between phosphofructokinase activity and Eh at 4 cm in the sediment and the maximum change in phosphofructokinase was found at low Eh, below −50 mV. The data are interpreted with reference to results from biological and environmental monitoring in Lochs Eil and Creran. It is suggested that the low phosphofructokinase activities inG. alba from the most affected areas of each loch may constitute a consistent biochemical response to effects of the organic inputs.


PyruvateAlbaCrude ExtractPolychaeteDehydrogenase Activity