CO2 and HCl-induced seawater acidification impair the ingestion and digestion of blue mussel Mytilus edulis

Highlights

1. The effect of two acidifying treatments, CO2 enrichment and HCl addition, on Mytilus edulis manifests different degrees of damage.

2. The effect of seawater acidification on mussels is not from a single factor (H+) but other action factors related to CO2.

3. Seawater acidification might inhibit the energy intake of mussels through interfering with the processes of ingestion and digestion.

Abstract

Anthropogenic CO2 emissions lead to seawater acidification that reportedly exerts deleterious impacts on marine organisms, especially on calcifying organisms such as mussels. A 21-day experiment focusing on the impacts of seawater acidification on the blue mussel, Mytilus edulis, was performed in this study, within which two acidifying treatments, CO2 enrichment and HCl addition, were applied. Two acidifying pH values (7.7 and 7.1) and the alteration of the key physiological processes of ingestion and digestion were estimated. To thoroughly investigate the impact of acidification on mussels, a histopathological study approach was adopted. The results showed that: (1) Seawater acidification induced either by CO2 enrichment or HCl addition impaired the gill structure. Transmission electron microscope (TEM) results suggested that the most obvious impacts were inflammatory lesions and edema, while more distinct alterations, including endoplasmic reticulum edema, nuclear condensation and chromatin plate-like condensation, were placed in the CO2-treated groups compared to HCl-treated specimens. The ciliary activity of the CO2 group was significantly inhibited simultaneously, leading to an obstacle in food intake. (2) Seawater acidification prominently damaged the structure of digestive glands, and the enzymatic activities of amylase, protease and lipase significantly decreased, which might indicate that the digestion was suppressed. The negative impacts induced by the CO2 group were more severe than that by the HCl group. The present results suggest that acidification interferes with the processes of ingestion and digestion, which potentially inhibits the energy intake of mussels.

Xu M., Sun T., Tang X., Lu K., Jiang Y., Cao S. & Wang Y., in press. CO2 and HCl-induced seawater acidification impair the ingestion and digestion of blue mussel Mytilus edulis. Chemosphere. Article (subscription required).

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