Characterisation of enzyme systems for development as a rapid screening method for environmental pollutants: First report


Internal Report 6
S. J. Riley, Macquarie University
Supervising Scientist


This report presents data collected from September 1989 to mid February 1990 which arose from research into the use of enzymes as markers for toxicants (see Research Proposal, File JR/05/38). We were therefore looking at inducible enzymes, particularly Glutathione S-Transferase (GST), that are used by a wide range of animal and plant, species to detoxify anthropogenic and naturally occurring substances. The research involved characterising the optimum in vitro temperature, pH and protein titre for the GST assay (Section 3) and determining whether feeding affected GST rates (Section 4). Further, we looked at the extent of induction of GST by some model compounds (Section 5). Preliminary studies on GST activity in a mussel (Section 6) and cytochrome P-450 activity in a fish (Section 7) are included. Also, whether RP4 water causes induction is of interest because of the suspected organic nature of the toxicant. Therefore, GST rates obtained from animals used in our laboratories routine RP4 water bioassays are presented in Section 8. The possibility of temporal changes in GST activity from control animals has been begun to be looked at (Section 9).

Our aim is to eventually develop an early warning system, and possible environmental Monitoring systems for organic toxicants, particularly for the organic toxicant in RP4 water, using enzymes involved in detoxification.