The value of stress protein 70 as an environmental biomarker of fish health under field conditions
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Hsp70 protein in three tissue types (gill, liver, and muscle) from black bream (Acanthopagrus butcheri) collected in a highly variable estuarine environment was investigated to determine which tissue provides better intersite discrimination. The usefulness of hsp70 expression to identify anthropogenic stress under field conditions was evaluated. Intersite differences were detected in hsp70 levels in gill and white muscle of black bream while liver showed no spatial difference. There was high interfish variability in hsp70 levels in each tissue group. A post hoc power analysis of the datasets for each tissue found that in black bream, white muscle provided the best discriminatory power to elucidate spatial variability. Only 11 fish per site are required to identify significant intersite differences in white muscle whereas for gill and liver tissues 14 and 21 fish per site, respectively, would be required. Because of high intertissue and interindividual variability, field measurement of hsp70 should be complemented by evidence of changes in other biomarkers of fish health.
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