Metabolomic profiles of a midge (Procladius villosimanus, kieffer) are associated with sediment contamination in urban wetlands

Katherine J. Jeppe, Konstantinos A. Kouremenos, Kallie R. Townsend, Daniel F. Macmahon, David Sharley, Dedreia L. Tull, Ary A. Hoffmann, Vincent Pettigrove, Sara M. Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Metabolomic techniques are powerful tools for investigating organism-environment interactions. Metabolite profiles have the potential to identify exposure or toxicity before populations are disrupted and can provide useful information for environmental assessment. However, under complex environmental scenarios, metabolomic responses to exposure can be distorted by background and/or organismal variation. In the current study, we use LC-MS (liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry) and GC-MS (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) to measure metabolites of the midge Procladius villosimanus inhabiting 21 urban wetlands. These metabolites were tested against common sediment contaminants using random forest models and metabolite enrichment analysis. Sediment contaminant concentrations in the field correlated with several P. villosimanus metabolites despite natural environmental and organismal variation. Furthermore, enrichment analysis indicated that metabolite sets implicated in stress responses were enriched, pointing to specific cellular functions affected by exposure. Methionine metabolism, sugar metabolism and glycerolipid metabolism associated with total petroleum hydrocarbon and metal concentrations, while mitochondrial electron transport and urea cycle sets associated only with bifenthrin. These results demonstrate the potential for metabolomics approaches to provide useful information in field-based environmental assessments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number64
Number of pages16
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomonitoring
  • Chironomidae
  • Environmental metabolomics
  • Procladius villosimanus
  • Sediment contamination

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