Inter-Research > DAO > v107 > n3 > p249-258  
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 107:249-258 (2014)  -  DOI:

Fourier-transformed infrared spectroscopy: a tool to identify gross chemical changes from healthy to yellow band disease tissues

Mayamarú Guerra1, Maria Antonieta López1, Ivan Estéves2, Ainhoa L. Zubillaga3, Aldo Cróquer4,*

1Unidad de Tecnología Laser y Optoelectrónica and 2Unidad de Geoquímica, Instituto Zuliano de Investigaciones Tecnológicas, Km 15 Carretera Via a La Cañada, Maracaibo 4001, Venezuela
3Departamento de Biología de Organismos and 4Departamento de Estudios Ambientales, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Apdo. 89000, Caracas, Venezuela
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Yellow band disease (YBD) is a common and wide-spread Caribbean syndrome that affects the genus Orbicella, a group of species that constitute the framework of Caribbean coral reefs. Previous studies have shown that the structure and function of bacterial assemblages vary between healthy tissues and YBD lesions; however, how the molecular composition of tissues varies as tissues transition from healthy to YBD has not been determined before. The present study provides the first survey of macromolecules found from healthy (H), apparently healthy (AH), transition (TR) and YBD tissues of Orbicella faveolata. For this, we used Fourier-transformed mid-infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) to compare absorption profiles as a proxy for the gross molecular composition of decalcified H, AH and YBD tissues. We found a significantly higher level of infrared absorption for bands assigned to lipids in H tissues compared to YBD tissues, suggesting that lipid compounds are more abundant in compromised tissues in relation to other macromolecules. We also found a lower level of intensity of bands assigned to carbohydrates and proteins in YBD tissues, compared to H and AH tissues. A similar pattern was observed for phospholipidic compounds in relation to fatty acids. This study is the first to show that healthy and YBD-compromised tissues have different infrared absorption profiles, suggesting that alterations in the biochemical composition occur during pathogenesis. Future studies should focus on determining the actual concentration of these compounds in H, AH, TR and YBD tissues and on testing the role of translocation of photoassimilates from H tissues and/or from endolithic algae to YBD tissues.

KEY WORDS: Coral diseases · Yellow band disease · Infrared spectroscopy · Tissue composition

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Cite this article as: Guerra M, López MA, Estéves I, Zubillaga AL, Cróquer A (2014) Fourier-transformed infrared spectroscopy: a tool to identify gross chemical changes from healthy to yellow band disease tissues. Dis Aquat Org 107:249-258.

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