Lipid extraction effects on stable isotope values (δ13C and δ15N) of elasmobranch muscle tissue

Hussey, Nigel E., Olin, Jill A., Kinney, Michael J., McMeans, Bailey C., and Fisk, Aaron T. (2012) Lipid extraction effects on stable isotope values (δ13C and δ15N) of elasmobranch muscle tissue. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 434-435. pp. 7-15.

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Abstract

Given the known effect of lipid content on δ13C values and the potential effect of urea on δ15N values, examining the effects of lipid extraction, which can potentially extract both, is of particular importance for elasmobranch isotope ecology. Through analysing paired δ13C, total %C, δ15N, total %N and C:N values of non-lipid extracted (BULK) and lipid extracted (LE) muscle samples from twenty-one elasmobranch species, we assessed whether lipid extraction was required: (i) to remove lipids given reported low lipid content and, (ii) to determine if δ15N values were affected and whether this relates to the retention of isotopically light urea by elasmobranchs. The mean (± SD) δ13C values of eight out of twenty-one species significantly increased following lipid extraction with two species, the Greenland (Somniosus microcephalus) and whale (Rhincodon typus) shark, showing a marked increase (5.0 ± 0.4‰ and 3.3‰, respectively). The mean (± SD) and maximum increase in δ13C values were 0.6 ± 1.2‰ and 5.9‰, respectively. For δ15N data, thirteen species showed a significant increase following lipid extraction and a concomitant reduction in total percent nitrogen (%N). The C:N ratio for these species also increased from unexpectedly low values of < 3.0 to ~ 3.0, the value expected for pure protein. The mean and maximum observed increase in δ15N values were 0.6 ± 0.6‰ and 2.3‰, respectively. There was no effect of increasing animal size on δ13C and δ15N difference (LE–BULK) for the two species examined. Field sampled animals (sampled immediately upon capture in the marine environment) showed a greater δ15N difference than animals sampled in the laboratory (sampled several hours after capture in the marine environment) (1.0 ± 0.5‰ and 0.4 ± 0.4‰ respectively), while estuarine sampled animals (sampled immediately) showed the smallest difference (0.1 ± 0.6‰). The δ13C data demonstrate that lipid extraction is required to remove lipids from elasmobranch muscle tissue given both intra- and inter- species variability. In addition, the increase in δ15N values, decrease in %N and increase in C:N ratio indicate that lipid extraction is removing soluble urea. Given lower δ15N diet-tissue discrimination factors for large marine predators, removal of urea is required to elucidate accurate trophic position estimates and relative food web position of elasmobranchs and for diet reconstruction. It is recommended that investigators undertake lipid extraction trials on elasmobranch muscle tissue to determine effects on δ13C and δ15N values on a species-by-species basis.

Item ID: 24525
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0022-0981
Keywords: intra- and inter-species variability, lipids, sharks, skate, stable isotopes, urea
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2013 05:25
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0601 Biochemistry and Cell Biology > 060109 Proteomics and Intermolecular Interactions (excl Medical Proteomics) @ 50%
03 CHEMICAL SCIENCES > 0304 Medicinal and Biomolecular Chemistry > 030499 Medicinal and Biomolecular Chemistry not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970103 Expanding Knowledge in the Chemical Sciences @ 50%
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