Dreissenid mussels from the Great Lakes contain elevated thiaminase activity

January 9, 2009 - Author: Donald E. Tillitt; Stephen C. Riley; Allison N. Evans; S. Jerrine Nichols; James L. Zajicek; Jacques Rinchard; Catherine A. Richter; Charles C. Krueger

Journal or Book Title: Journal of Great Lakes Research

Keywords: Thiamine; Food web; Quagga mussel; Zebra mussel; Invasive

Volume/Issue: 35

Page Number(s): 309-312

Year Published: 2009


We examined thiaminase activity in dreissenid mussels collected at different depths and seasons, and from various locations in Lakes Michigan, Ontario, and Huron. Here we present evidence that two dreissenid mussel species (Dreissena bugensis and D. polymorpha) contain thiaminase activity that is 5–100 fold greater than observed in Great Lakes fishes. Thiaminase activity in zebra mussels ranged from 10,600 to 47,900 pmol g−1·min−1 and activities in quagga mussels ranged from 19,500 to 223,800 pmol g−1·min−1. Activity in the mussels was greatest in spring, less in summer, and least in fall. Additionally, we observed greater thiaminase activity in dreissenid mussels collected at shallow depths compared to mussels collected at deeper depths. Dreissenids constitute a significant and previously unknown pool of thiaminase in the Great Lakes food web compared to other known sources of this thiamine (vitamin B1)-degrading enzyme. Thiaminase in forage fish of the Great Lakes has been causally linked to thiamine deficiency in salmonines. We currently do not know whether linkages exist between thiaminase activities observed in dreissenids and the thiaminase activities in higher trophic levels of the Great Lakes food web. However, the extreme thiaminase activities observed in dreissenids from the Great Lakes may represent a serious unanticipated negative effect of these exotic species on Great Lakes ecosystems.


Type of Publication: Journal Article

Publisher: Elsevier

Tags: center for systems integration and sustainability, food web, invasive, quagga mussel, thiamine, zebra mussel


Charles Krueger

Charles Krueger

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