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Investigating the biochemical effects of heat stress and sample quenching approach on the metabolic profiling of abalone (Haliotis iris)


Nguyen, TV and Alfaro, A and Frost, E and Chen, D and Beale, DJ and Mundy, C, Investigating the biochemical effects of heat stress and sample quenching approach on the metabolic profiling of abalone (Haliotis iris), Metabolomics, 18, (1) Article 7. ISSN 1573-3882 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1007/s11306-021-01862-8



Ocean temperatures have been consistently increasing due to climate change, and the frequency of heatwave events on shellfish quality is a growing concern worldwide. Typically, shellfish growing areas are in remote or difficult to access locations which makes in-field sampling and sample preservation of shellfish heat stress difficult. As such, there is a need to investigate in-field sampling approaches that facilitate the study of heat stress in shellfish.


This study aims to apply a gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) based metabolomics approach to examine molecular mechanisms of heat stress responses in shellfish using abalone as a model, and compare the effects of different quenching protocols on abalone metabolic profiles.


Twenty adult Haliotis iris abalone were exposed to two temperatures (14 °C and 24 °C) for 24 h. Then, haemolymph and muscle tissues of each animal were sampled and quenched with 4 different protocols (liquid nitrogen, dry ice, cold methanol solution and normal ice) which were analyzed via GC–MS for central carbon metabolites.


The effects of different quenching protocols were only observed in muscle tissues in which the cold methanol solution and normal ice caused some changes in the observed metabolic profiles, compared to dry ice and liquid nitrogen. Abalone muscle tissues were less affected by thermal stress than haemolymph. There were 10 and 46 compounds significantly influenced by thermal stress in muscle and haemolymph, respectively. The changes of these metabolite signatures indicate oxidative damage, disturbance of amino acid and fatty acid metabolism, and a shift from aerobic metabolism to anaerobic pathways.


The study provided insights into the heat response of abalone, which could be useful for understanding the effects of marine heatwaves and summer mortality events on abalone. Dry ice appeared to be a suitable protocol, and safer in-field alternative to liquid nitrogen, for quenching of abalone tissues.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:stress responses, climate change, shellfish, metabolomics, omics, metabolic quenching
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Post-harvest fisheries technologies (incl. transportation)
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Wild caught edible molluscs
UTAS Author:Mundy, C (Dr Craig Mundy)
ID Code:151072
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2022-07-15
Last Modified:2022-07-18

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