A recent research has found out that goldfish, to adapt to the low-oxygen environments in frozen ponds rely on booze to survive in the waters. According to reports, goldfish produce ethanol and release it into the water through their gills.
The research, which was conducted in Norway and led by Catherine Fagernes of the University of Oslo tells us how goldfish make moonshine in an effort to overcome the challenges presented by the waters in winter.
Commenting on the findings of the study, co-author Michael Berenbrink from the University of Liverpool told Gizmodo said, “Under the ice they (goldfish) try to minimize the energy expenditure. In a way the behavior changes because they’re just sitting there. We can’t really distinguish if that’s from the alcohol or the survival strategy.”
The study stated that the goldfish begins brewing the ethanol when it runs out of oxygen. Normally, a person’s cells generate energy from breaking down sugars which are present in oxygen. When that oxygen runs out, the cells turn to a different process, anaerobic respiration, that produces lactic acid, which can quickly build up and cause harm.
Scientists till not thought that one one group of enzymes, the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, was partially responsible for the process for the harm. However, in the recent study, the researchers found out that there is another enzyme that kicks in in low-oxygen environments, called pyruvate decarboxylase, which is similar to an enzyme found in brewers yeast.
This particular enzyme ensures that goldfish only release ethanol through fermentation, rather than acids which could pose harm to the body.
The researchers reached their findings segregating goldfish into different groups and then putting them in airless tanks for seven days. They later took samples of their tissues and sequenced their DNA.
The findings of the research were published in the journal Scientific Reports on Friday.