Sandra Korycan, M.Sc. Biology 1984

Organ-specific metabolism during anoxia and recovery from anoxia in the cherrystone clam, Mercenaria mercenaria



The levels of intermediary metabolites and end products were quantified in the tissues of the cherrystone clam, Mercenaria mercenaria, over a time course of 96 h of anoxia followed by 48 h of aerobic recovery. Succinate and alanine accumulated as anaerobic products while glycogen and aspartate were utilized as substrates. Succinate accumulation ranged from 12-14 micromol/g wet weight in muscle (phasic and catch adductor, foot) to 25 micromol/g in gill and mantle with 32 micromol/mL released into the mantle cavity fluid. Lesser amounts of alanine were produced, the ratio succinate:alanine varying from 1.4:1 in phasic adductor to 3.2:1 in mantle at 96 h. Aspartate reserves apparently supply the carbon for succinate synthesis over the first 6-12 h of anoxia; subsequent succinate and alanine production probably results from glycogen fermentation. The imino acids alanopine and strombine were not produced in appreciable amounts (less than 1 micromol/g) during anoxia. When returned to aerated seawater, control levels of alanine and aspartate were reestablished within 24 h; accumulated succinate was catabolized within 48 h. Glycogen content of all tissues showed a sharp decline after 6 h of recovery, perhaps due to enhanced energy demands, but levels increased later in recovery. Tissue ATP levels, which were depressed during anoxia, were restored by 24 h.