Main content area

Short-term exposure to low doses of rotenone induces developmental, biochemical, behavioral, and histological changes in fish

Melo, Karina Motta, Oliveira, Rhaul, Grisolia, Cesar Koppe, Domingues, Inês, Pieczarka, Julio Cesar, de Souza Filho, José, Nagamachi, Cleusa Yoshiko
Environmental science and pollution research international 2015 v.22 no.18 pp. 13926-13938
Danio rerio, Derris, Lonchocarpus, Poecilia reticulata, absorption, acute toxicity, behavior change, biomarkers, catalase, cholinesterase, chronic exposure, edema, exposure scenario, fish, gills, glutathione transferase, histopathology, juveniles, lethal concentration 50, liver, metabolites, mortality, pesticides, pigmentation, rotenone, sublethal effects, tail, yolk sac
Rotenone, a natural compound derived from plants of the genera Derris and Lonchocarpus, is used worldwide as a pesticide and piscicide. This study aims to assess short-term toxicity of rotenone to early-life stages of the fish Danio rerio and Poecilia reticulata using a wide and integrative range of biomarkers (developmental, biochemical, behavioral, and histopathological). Moreover, the species sensitivity distribution (SSD) approach was used to compare rotenone acute toxicity to fish species. Toxicity tests were based on the OECD protocols, fish embryo toxicity test (for D. rerio embryos), and fish acute toxicity test (for P. reticulata juveniles). D. rerio embryos were used to estimate lethal concentrations and analyze embryonic and enzymatic alterations (activity of catalase, glutathione-S-transferase, and cholinesterase), while P. reticulata juveniles were used for the assessment of histological damage in the gills and liver. Rotenone induced significant mortality in zebrafish embryos with a 96-h lethal concentration 50 % (LC₅₀) = 12.2 μg/L. Rotenone was embryotoxic, affecting the development of D. rerio embryos, which showed cardiac edema; tail deformities; loss of equilibrium; and a general delay characterized by lack of tail detachment, delayed somite formation, yolk sac absorption, and lack of pigmentation. Biochemical biomarker inhibition was observed for concentrations ≥1 μg/L for CAT and glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and for cholinesterase (ChE) in concentration from 10 μg/L. Behavioral changes were observed for P. reticulata juveniles exposed to concentrations equal to or above 25 μg/L of rotenone; moreover, histological damage in the liver and gills of fish exposed to concentrations equal to or above 2.5 μg/L could be observed. A hazard concentration 5 % (HC₅) of 3.2 μg/L was estimated considering the acute toxicity data for different fish species (n = 49). Lethal and sublethal effects of rotenone raise a concern about its effects on nontarget fish species, especially because rotenone and its metabolite rotenolone are frequently reported in the microgram range in natural environments for several days after field applications. Rotenone should be used with caution. Given the high toxicity and wide range of sublethal effects here reported, further studies in a chronic exposure scenario are recommended.