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Arabian killifish (Aphanius dispar) embryos: A model organism for the risk assessment of the Arabian Gulf coastal waters

Saeed, Suhur, Al‐Naema, Nayla, Butler, Josh D., Febbo, Eric J.
Environmental toxicology and chemistry 2015 v.34 no.12 pp. 2898-2905
Aphanius dispar, breeding, chlorine, coagulation, coastal water, cooling systems, disinfectants, ecotoxicology, edema, embryogenesis, environmental assessment, fish, growth retardation, hemolysis, indicator species, lethal concentration 50, long term effects, models, mortality, pericardium, risk assessment, salinity, sodium dodecyl sulfate, sublethal effects, surfactants, tail, toxic substances, zinc, zinc sulfate, Persian Gulf
Fish embryos are excellent models for studies aimed at understanding toxic mechanisms and indications of possible acute and chronic effects. For the past 3 yr, an Arabian killifish (Aphanius dispar) fish embryo test has been developed in the authors' laboratory as a routine ecotoxicological test that can be used to support risk assessment of potential contaminants in Arabian Gulf coastal waters. Tests were conducted with 3 reference toxicants (3,4‐dichloroaniline [DCA], sodium dodecyl sulfate, and zinc sulfate [Zn]) and chlorine, a disinfectant used widely in industrial cooling systems around the Arabian Gulf region. The 50% effect concentration (EC50) for DCA was 0.47 mg/L and 1.89 mg/L for embryos exposed before 6 hpf and after 168 hpf, respectively. Sublethal effects were mainly observed at concentrations above 2.5 mg/L, the effects included severe pericardial edema and tail shortage. The sodium dodecyl sulfate ionic surfactant caused mortality at both early and late stages of embryo development; it caused coagulation, severe deformity, and hemolysis. Both the EC50 and the 50% lethal concentration (LC50) for sodium dodecyl sulfate were 9.37 mg/L. Salinity influenced the toxicity of Zn to killifish embryos: at 40 psu Zn was found not to be toxic, whereas at 20 psu toxicity had increased significantly (p < 0.05). Values of EC50 and LC50 were 2.5 mg/L and 4 mg/L, respectively. Concentrations above 15 mg/L in embryos were often accompanied by upper abdominal edema and inhibition of growth, especially evident in the tail. Chlorine caused mortality at a lower concentration; for example, at 0.05 mg/L 33% of embryos were found dead at the end of the experiment. The LC50 for chlorine was determined to be 0.08 mg/L. Examination of the existing literature showed similar results to the present study's findings. The results suggest a more comparable sensitivity of killifish embryos to that of other fish embryo test recommended species. The present study's findings support the ability of killifish to be an indicator organism for environmental risk assessments of Arabian Gulf waters. Benefits include sensitivity to a wide range of substances and conditions, animal alternative, ease of fish breeding, and clarity of the embryos. Environ Toxicol Chem 2015;34:2898–2905. © 2015 SETAC