Internal effect concentrations of organic substances for early life development of egg-exposed fish

E.M. Foekema, M. Lopez Parron, M.T. Megia, E.R.M. Carolus, J.H.J. van den Berg, C.J.A.F. Kwadijk, Q.T. Dao, A.J. Murk

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18 Citations (Scopus)


The present study investigates the likelihood that early life development of marine fish from contaminated areas is affected by maternally transferred persistent organic substances (POPs). The common sole (Solea solea) was used as model species. Fertilized eggs were exposed via the water until hatching, 6 days post fertilization. The newly hatched larvae were allowed to develop further under unexposed conditions until the end of the metamorphosis. Effects on the larvae were determined for the dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyl PCB 126, the technical PCB-mixture Arochlor 1254, polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs), and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), for an artificial mixture of PCBs and PBDEs, and for ‘field mixtures’ extracted from sole from the North Sea and the contaminated Western Scheldt estuary. Effect levels were expressed as tissue concentrations in the newly hatched larvae at the end of the exposure period. Exposure to PCBs, PBDEs, and the artificial and field mixtures caused mortality that started to occur shortly after the larvae became free-feeding (10 days post fertilization) and continued to increase until the onset of metamorphosis, 15 days later. The effects induced by the field mixtures correlated well with the SPCB concentrations in the tissue of the exposed larvae. No indications were found for synergistic effects or for substantial contribution of other (unknown) substances in the field mixtures. HBCD did not induce toxic effects. As lipid normalized POP levels in fish eggs are in general comparable to the levels in the tissue of the female fish, fish tissue concentrations are indicative of the internal exposure of the developing larvae as a result maternally transferred POPs will occur in the field. In sole from the Western Scheldt estuary POP levels are about twenty times lower than the larval tissue concentration that produced 50 percent early life stage mortality. Levels in North Sea sole are an order of a magnitude lower. At more heavily contaminated sites negative effect of PCBs, especially of those with dioxin-like toxicity can be expected
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-22
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • polybrominated diphenyl ethers
  • western scheldt estuary
  • zebrafish danio-rerio
  • flounder paralichthys-dentatus
  • trout salvelinus-fontinalis
  • toxic equivalency factors
  • medaka oryzias-latipes
  • southern north-sea
  • polychlorinated-biphenyls
  • hexabromocyclodo

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