In recent years evolutionary ecologists have become increasingly interested in the effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) on the life-histories of animals. ROS levels have mostly been inferred indirectly due to the limitations of estimating ROS from in vitro methods. However, measuring ROS (hydrogen peroxide, H2 O2) content in vivo is now possible using the MitoB probe. Here, we extend and refine the MitoB method to make it suitable for ecological studies of oxidative stress using the brown trout Salmo trutta as model. The MitoB method allows an evaluation of H2 O2 levels in living organisms over a timescale from hours to days. The method is flexible with regard to the duration of exposure and initial concentration of the MitoB probe, and there is no transfer of the MitoB probe between fish. H2 O2 levels were consistent across subsamples of the same liver but differed between muscle subsamples and between tissues of the same animal. The MitoB method provides a convenient method for measuring ROS levels in living animals over a significant period of time. Given its wide range of possible applications, it opens the opportunity to study the role of ROS in mediating life history trade-offs in ecological settings.
- Animal physiology
- Biological techniques