Dimethylsulfoniopropionate in six species of giant clams and the evolution of dimethylsulfide after death Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Substantial accumulation of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) is documented in tissues of all six of the common species of giant clams (Tridacnidae). Results include measures of DMSP concentrations in siphonal mantle, byssal mantle, adductor muscle, and gill tissues obtained by gas chromatography of alkalized extracts plus evidence of DMSP from mass spectrometry. Formation of dimethylsulfide (DMS) by tissues after death is documented. The tridacnid clams maintain symbiotic associations with populations of dinoflagellates, which live within the enlarged siphonal mantle. We postulated that because of their association with dinoflagellates, the clams would chronically accumulate DMSP to high concentrations. Our results show that DMSP occurs at over 30 mmol·kg–1 in many tissues of tridacnid clams (sometimes 50–60 mmol·kg–1), meaning that these clams accumulate DMSP to the highest documented tissue concentrations in the animal kingdom. DMSP at such concentrations could affect multiple properties and functions. Our particular interest for this research was to assess whether postmortem breakdown of DMSP is responsible for the rapid development of potent off-odors and off-tastes that have blocked the commercial success of giant clam aquaculture. High concentrations of DMS produced in the day after death probably account for the peculiar perishability of giant clam tissues.

publication date

  • May 2004