Detection of both biological and chemical environmental toxicants is essential in the assessment of risk to human health. Cell-based biosensors are capable of activity- based detection of toxicity. Chromatophore cells, responsible for the pigmentation of poikilothermic animal, have shown immense potential as cell-based biosensors in the detection of a broad range of environmental toxicants. Chromatophore cells possess the motile pigment granules that intracellularly aggregate or disperse in response to external stimuli. Previous studies have assessed chromatophore cells isolated from red Betta splendens and grey Oncorhynchus tschawytscha fish for use as a biosensor. The objective of this study was to describe blue B. splendens chromatophore cells in tissue culture. Blue B. splendens chromatophore cells were assessed for their longevity in tissue culture and their responses to previously established control agents. Blue B. splendens chromatophore cells were exposed to select chemicals and pathogenic bacteria to assess their ability to respond to environmental toxicants. Three concentrations of mercuric chloride, methyl mercuric chloride, paraquat, sodium arsenite, sodium cyanide chemicals were tested. Bacillus cereus, Bacillus subtilis, Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis, and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium were tested. Red B. splendens chromatophore cells were subjected to the select chemical and bacterial toxicants, and observed for their responses. The data collected in this and previous studies were compiled to compare chromatophore cell responses to a broad range of environmental toxicants. Chromatophore cells isolated from both blue and red B. splendens were responsive to methyl mercuric chloride and sodium arsenite. Grey O. tschawytscha chromatophore cells have shown responsiveness to mercuric chloride and sodium arsenite. Blue and red B. splendens chromatophore cells were both responsive to B. cereus and both Salmonella serovars. Grey O. tschawytscha have previously been shown to respond to B. cereus as well.
In conclusion, this study reports the chromatophore cells isolated from blue B. splendens in tissue culture and showed similar responsiveness to the selected chemical and bacterial environmental toxicants as chromatophore cells isolated from red and grey colored fish. This study provides compelling evidence that the chromatophore response is not dependent on fish color and that chromatophore cells used for a cell-based detection system may be isolated from different colored fish.