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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Oxylipins at intermediate larval stages of damselfly Coenagrion hastulatum as biochemical biomarkers for anthropogenic pollution

Spath, Jana; Brodin, Tomas; Cerveny, Daniel; Lindberg, Richard; Fick, Jerker; Nording, Malin L.


Aquatic pollution resulting from anthropogenic activities requires adequate environmental monitoring strategies in sentinel organisms. Thus, biochemical biomarkers have been used as early-warning tools of biological effects in aquatic organisms. However, before using these markers for environmental monitoring, knowledge about their developmental variation is vital. In this study, we assessed baseline levels and developmental variations of a group of potential biomarkers, oxylipins, during the lifespan of the Northern damselfly (Coenagrion hastulatum) using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Effects of wastewater exposure on baseline levels were studied in a subset of damselflies to investigate the responsiveness due to anthropogenic pollution. Thirty-eight oxylipins deriving from four polyunsaturated fatty acids via two enzymatic pathways were detected in damselflies at three larval stages and in the adult form. Overall, oxylipin baseline levels showed developmental variation, which was lowest in the intermediate larval stages. Effects of exposure to wastewater effluent on oxylipin baseline levels were dependent on the life stage and were greatest in the early and intermediate larval stages. The study provides first insights into oxylipin profiles of damselflies at different stages of development and their developmental variation. Based on our results, we propose further strategies for incorporating oxylipins in damselfly larvae as biochemical markers for anthropogenic pollution.


Benthic invertebrate; Life cycle; Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry; Fatty acid metabolite; Eicosanoid; Biomarker; Variation

Published in

Environmental Science and Pollution Research
2021, Volume: 28, number: 22, pages: 27629–27638