• Paulgro
    933
    Goldfish-alcohol.jpg


    Goldfish have the rather peculiar ability to make their own alcohol to help them survive harsh winters, but how do they do it in the first place? That question was answered earlier this week by a team of researchers from the Universities of Oslo and Liverpool.

    As pointed out by Phys.org, most vertebrates, humans included, could die if left without oxygen even for a few minutes. But goldfish and crucian carp are unique, as both species of fish are capable of lasting days, or even months in some cases, at the oxygen-free bottom of icy ponds during the winter months. And once the alcohol is created, blood alcohol levels can exceed 50 mg per 100 milliliters, which the researchers observed is far greater than most countries’ thresholds for impaired driving.

    The multinational team of researchers discovered that goldfish make alcohol by transforming anaerobically-produced (or oxygen-free) lactic acid into ethanol. This substance then spreads across the fish’s gills and into the water, and prevents lactic acid from building up in their bodies.

    In simpler terms, one can interpret this as goldfish getting drunk to survive. And while that might sound preposterous, or like something out of a cartoon, study co-author Michael Berenbrink from the University of Liverpool told Gizmodo that the behavior of goldfish does seem to change after they “brew” their alcohol, though it isn’t sure whether these changes are due to the alcohol or part of a survival strategy.

    “Under the ice they try to minimize the energy expenditure. In a way the behavior changes because they’re just sitting there.”
    DHG1AxeUQAAKuzq.jpg

    As further noted by Phys.org, the researchers were able to discover the molecular features that drive the peculiar ability of crucian carp and goldfish to make alcohol. Both species don’t just have one, but rather two sets of proteins that are typically used to help break down carbohydrates within a cell’s mitochondria. One of these sets has a lot in common with the protein sets found in other species, but the second set works whenever there is a lack of oxygen, and features a mutation that allows for the creation of ethanol outside the mitochondria.

    Based on genetic analysis performed on the protein sets, this unusual feature came about as a result of a “genome duplication event” that took place about 8 million years ago in a common ancestor of goldfish and crucian carp.
    Crucian-carp-670x388.jpg
    Crucian carp are also capable of creating ethanol as a survival tool for harsh winters. [Image by Rostislav Stefanek/Shutterstock]

    In a statement, lead author Cathrine Elisabeth Fagernes from the University of Oslo said that the ability of crucian carp and goldfish to produce alcohol helps them emerge as sole survivors in harsh winter environments. That allows them to avoid competition with other fish species, and the threat of being preyed upon by these creatures.

    “It’s no wonder then that the crucian carp’s cousin, the goldfish, is arguably one of the most resilient pets under human care,” Fagernes added.

    [Featured Image by dien/Shutterstock]
  • Donna
    1.9k
    That's pretty interesting! I found the last paragraph funny, that goldfish are one of the most resilient pets under human care. They are not resilient enough to survive me!
  • Krystyna
    1.4k
    Very interesting,thank you for sharing.Well,other fish avoid them because they don't want to eat drunk fish,lol.
  • J Zerbs
    622
    interesting I feel the same I've had goldfish before and most didn't live too long although a few did.

    I wouldn't call 50 mg per 100 ml drunk, depending on your weight and gender that's like having 1 or 2 drinks ( 12 oz beer, 5 oz wine, 1.25 oz liquor) over a hour period.
  • Paulgro
    933
    I know a woman that had a gold fish over 20 years but like you I gave up on them living very long. J Zerbs people are bigger then gold fish so it wouldn't take much to make them drunk.
  • Donna
    1.9k
    I believe you! My friends had a goldfish for years - at least 15 years. Don't know how old it was when it developed a swim bladder issue. I can't remember if it swam upside down or on its side. but it lived happily for quite a few years like that.
  • Paulgro
    933
    Never heard of a bladder issue on a fish but why not?
  • Donna
    1.9k
    The swim bladder is what keeps the fish upright in the water.
  • Krystyna
    1.4k
    Wow,15 years that's very long life for fish.
  • Donna
    1.9k
    I know! I was amazed to see that fish live so long! May have been longer than 15 years that it lived, too.
  • Paulgro
    933
    OK, I understand now.
  • J Zerbs
    622
    no it wouldn't take much to make a goldfish drunk, never weighed one but they can't weigh very much. Anyways I wouldn't call .05 % blood alcohol level being drunk (for most people) and was surprised that it's over the limit in so many countries because as I mentioned depending on your weight it supposedly takes only 1 or 2 drinks in a hour to be at .05. It makes sense to me though because I think if you're drinking alcohol you shouldn't drive.

    just out of curiosity I looked it up and the record for oldest goldfish is 43 years. The oldest koi is 226 years, so if there was a 226 year old koi alive today it would of been born during George Washington's first term as president.
  • Krystyna
    1.4k
    Oh my,now speaking of old age especially for the koi,guess the koi must be handled from generation to generation.
  • frances turkel
    223
    ["Paulgro; I Had Gold fish and orther tropical fish as I was growing up and I found them too boring to spend money on!
  • Paulgro
    933
    I agree about people but we are talking goldfish here.
  • J Zerbs
    622
    That's true idk how alcohol affects goldfish vs. humans, either way it's interesting that they're able to do that.
  • frances turkel
    223
    ="Paulgro; Yeah people are boring for the most part....dogs do tricks...fish don't do anything! Thats why I say their boring!
  • Paulgro
    933
    Many just like to look at them. I'm not crazy about them either. I'm a cat person but also like dogs.
  • Donna
    1.9k
    I like fish. They're pretty and I find them very relaxing to watch. But given the choice between a tank of fish or a dog as a pet, the dog wins hands down!
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