Investigating the Predictive Power of Sublethal Endpoints for Fish Embryo Toxicity Tests

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  • Location : Webinar, HESI Next Generation Ecological Risk Assessment Committee

Dr. Marlo Jeffries - Investigating the Predictive Power of Sublethal Endpoints for Fish Embryo Toxicity Tests

Webinar, organized by the HESI Next Generation Ecological Risk Assessment Committee.

Click link to view webinar recording


Dr. Marlo Jeffries (TCU) presents ongoing research related to the Fish Embryo Toxicity Test.

The fish embryo acute toxicity (FET) test is known to be less sensitive than the fish acute test for some chemicals, including neurotoxicants. Thus, there is an interest in identifying additional endpoints that can improve FET test performance. The goal of this project was to advance alternative toxicity testing methods by determining whether select developmental abnormalities—snout-vent length, eye size, and pericardial area—are linked to adverse alterations in ecologically-relevant behaviors and delayed mortality. Fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) FET tests were conducted with 3,4-dicholoroaniline, cadmium, and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and developmental abnormalities were quantified. Surviving eleutheroembryos were reared in clean water to 14 days post fertilization (dpf), during which time behaviors and mortality were evaluated. None of the abnormalities evaluated were predictive of behavioral alterations; however, embryos with ≥14% reductions in length or ≥3.54-fold increases in pericardial area had an 80% chance of mortality by 14 dpf. When these abnormalities were used as markers of mortality, the LC50s for cadmium and PFOS were less than those calculated using only standardized FET test endpoints and similar to those obtained via larval fish tests, indicating that the snout-vent length and pericardial area warrant consideration as standard FET test endpoints.


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