Rapid Detecion of N-Acetylneuraminic Acid from False Clownfish using HPLC-FLD for Symbiosis to Host Sea Anemone


  • Najatul Suad Abdullah International Islamic University Malaysia
  • Shahbudin Saad


N-acetylneuraminic acid, false clownfish, HPLC-FLD, sea anemone


The symbiosis of false clownfish to its host sea anemone is unique as sea anemone is known to discharge toxin to approaching prey. This study aims to investigate by which biochemical property of the false clownfish mucus that enables the fish to adapt to the stinging tentacles of the sea anemone. N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac) is a member of the sialic acid family that is secreted in the mucus of many marine and terrestrial organisms. It is important for cell recognition in endocrine regulation and cell immune system.  Mucus samples were collected from sea anemone Heteractis magnifica and three fish species, Amphiprion ocellaris, Abudefduf sexfasciatus, and Thalassoma lunare.  Samples were prepared byderivatization with thiobarbituric acid prior to rapid detection by HPLC-FLD.  The principal result showed that false clownfish, A. ocellaris, significantly lacks Neu5Ac (1.636 mg/ml) as compared to other reef fish tested (50.433 mg/ml and 71.893 mg/ml respectively).  As Neu5Ac is detected by the tentacles of sea anemone to trigger toxin discharge, it is concluded that the lack of Neu5Ac by false clownfish protects it from being stung.


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How to Cite

Abdullah, N. S., & Saad, S. (2015). Rapid Detecion of N-Acetylneuraminic Acid from False Clownfish using HPLC-FLD for Symbiosis to Host Sea Anemone. Asian Journal of Applied Sciences, 3(5). Retrieved from https://www.ajouronline.com/index.php/AJAS/article/view/2171