Chitobiase as a tool in water quality monitoring

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MacKenzie, Scott
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Time-consuming and expensive benthic surveys are currently the most common means of determining impacts on invertebrates and fish habitat in lotic systems. We propose using the rate of chitobiase production by benthic invertebrates as a complement for determining impacts on freshwater systems. We successfully modified the existing assay to a microplate approach for high throughput analysis of chitobiase activity. Next we conducted two case studies in: 1) the Dead Horse Creek, Manitoba, to determine if changes in chitobiase could detect impacts on the benthic community from wastewater effluent and; 2) in Snake and Kinch Creeks, Manitoba to see if chitobiase could be used to assess fish habitat quality. In both cases, we observed no strong relationships between chitobiase and traditional metrics (e.g., abundance, biomass, diversity). We recommend further studies concerning the timing of chitobiase release in lotic systems and assessments of its use in mesocosm and microcosm toxicity studies
Chitobiase, Stream insects, Treated wastewater effluent, Water quality monitoring