Human activities not only use natural resources but also discharge chemical and bacteriological pollutants. Ongoing water or soil monitoring is a powerful tool to provide trustful information for managing the resource and ensure ecological environment sustainability. The water quality status investigation in rivers is essential to establish a sustainable water management policy. At present, integrated water assessments are recommended, including water quantities and physicochemical, ecological and toxicological tests. However, there are resource constraints and numerous ecotoxicological tests or large-scale chemical determinations of pollutants cannot be conducted. In addition, routine monitoring includes standardized physicochemical and bacteriological parameters, which can be detected and exhibited as a series of numbers using analytical technologies. Nowadays, advanced analytical technologies are applied, including gas chromatography–mass spectrometry, high-performance liquid chromatography, and atomic absorption. Many pollutants and their interactions that take a big part in assessing the natural ecological status still cannot be identified, despite the presence of more advanced technologies.
As a free-living nematode, C. elegans resides mainly in the film of water around soil particles. The advantages of using C. elegans including the ecological significance, short life cycle and convenience of large-scale culturing in the laboratory, have been extensively exploited in ecotoxicology over the past 20 years. And C. elegans was initially used for aquatic testing of metal toxicity in 1990. Nowadays, C. elegans is a worldwide accepted biological model for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) ratified by international standards. The nematodes are frequently used in ecotoxicological studies within exposure in various media, including soil, water, wastewater, particulate matter, sewage sludge and river sediments, and become popular bioindicators for environmental monitoring and risk assessment.
Although the possible implications of mixture toxicities are long known, the experimental challenges of the toxicological tests of substance mixtures are substantial. There are several reasons. First of all, as the current gold standard of toxicity testing, rats have provided vital information about metal exposures. Due to the multitude of substances and even more possible combinations, it is hardly feasible to test substance interactions comprehensively in mammalian bioassays. Besides, changes are hardly observed due to the numerous cell types and their relative abundance in the tissue examined. In addition, investigation of toxic effects of specific mixtures requires performing in a whole organism that has the integrity and complexity to respond to chemical mixture. Consequently, alternative models and approaches to analyze the toxic effect of mixtures are urgently needed. C. elegans can be easily cultured in large-scales, which is similar to in vitro systems. As a whole living organism, the nematodes can bridge the intrinsic gap between in vitro and in vivo approaches. Therefore, C. elegans is a promising model for analyses and prediction of mixture effects and can contribute to identify mixtures of concern for human health and environment.
Anthropogenic activities, like pollutant discharges from mining and other sources have led to metal bioaccumulation in lower animals, and finally have an effect on humanity. Numerous studies have established the utility of transgenic C. elegans strains as biosensors of metal pollution, combining with green fluorescence protein (GFP) reporter system. The biomarkers of metal pollution, such as heat-shock and metallothionein output genes are detected in C. elegans. Additionally, for C. elegans, the detoxification of metal stress involves various enzyme activities. Therefore, the transgenic strains containing these genes are also applied to assist the diagnosis of metal pollution. Overall, C. elegans is a popular biosensor for environmental pollution caused by metals.
CD BioSciences is dedicated to providing the best service to accelerate the achievement of our customers' research goals. C. elegans is a useful bioindicator and suitable for ecotoxicological testing in environments. Here we have developed a low-cost and one-stop solution service utilizing C. elegans to help customers rapidly assess environmental toxicity. If you take an interest in this area, please feel free to contact us for more details of our services.