Glutamate oxidation in mitochondria from the gills of oysters (Crassostrea virginica Gmelin) acclimated to sea water (SW) is sensitive to assay medium osmolanty. Compared to a medium of the osmolarity of sea water, decreasing osmolarity stimulates glutamate oxidation and increasing osmolarity inhibits glutamate oxidation. Glutamate oxidation by mitochondria from oysters acclimated to dilute sea water (DSW) is 2.5-fold greater than in SW animals when each is assayed under isosmotic conditions. The maximal rates obtained in both acclimation groups are equal. Although the DSW animals were acclimated to an osmolarity approximately 660 mosmol 1−1 lower than SW animals, the osmotic optimum was only 100–200 mosmol 1−1 lower in the former group. Isolation medium osmolarity does not affect the osmolarity at which the maximum rate of glutamate oxidation is observed in either acclimation group. A low-osmolarity isolation medium reduces the oxidation rates and quality of the mitochondria, as assessed by the respiratory control ratio in both acclimation groups. These data suggest that an optimal matrix solute concentration or ionic strength is required for maximal rates of glutamate oxidation rather than an optimal mitochondrial volume. The optimal mitochondrial matrix milieu can be achieved both by acclimation to dilute sea water and by incubation in hypo-osmotic media.

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