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Acute toxic and genotoxic effects of formalin in Danio rerio (zebrafish)

Resendes, André Sangineto, dos Santos, Diego Sales, França, Fernanda Menezes, Petesse, Maria Letizia, Badaró-Pedroso, Cintia, Ferreira, Cláudia Maris
Ecotoxicology 2018 v.27 no.10 pp. 1379-1386
Danio rerio, adverse effects, aquaculture, blood sampling, breeding, disease control, disinfection, erythrocytes, formalin, fungi, genotoxicity, hospitals, micronucleus tests, models, parasites, protocols
Formalin is a readily soluble chemical used as a sanitizing agent in the home and hospital. Formaldehyde solutions are routinely used in aquaculture for the prophylaxis and treatment of parasites and fungi, but the adverse effects of their application need to be further investigated. Danio rerio or zebrafish has characteristics favorable to its handling and breeding, and it is highly sensitive to various chemicals, being an ideal experimental model for this type of investigation. Thus, the objective of this study was to verify the toxic and genotoxic effects of formalin and to determine the lethal concentrations of this chemical to support its safe use in disinfection processes. Acute and chronic tests were performed using methods in accordance with international protocols. The genotoxic effect of formalin was evaluated with the micronucleus test using blood samples, which were collected at 96 and 192 h of exposure. The LC₅₀–₉₆ₕ of formalin in D. rerio was 45.73 mg L⁻¹, demonstrating its high resistance compared to other species. Regarding the genotoxic effect, the sublethal concentrations of formalin showed a positive correlation with micronuclei according to the increase in its concentration independent of the time of exposure. The incidence of micronuclei increased with concentration, and the addition of 1 mg L⁻¹ formalin corresponded to an increase of 2.9% in the average number of micronuclei. In other words, formalin at even sublethal concentrations caused genotoxic effects in peripheral blood erythrocytes of D. rerio. Therefore, we recommend further studies and other tests involving this chemical for its use at environmentally safe concentrations.