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Behavioural effects and bioconcentration of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos

Menger, Frank; Pohl, Johannes; Ahrens, Lutz; Carlsson, Gunnar; Orn, Stefan


Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) that cause concern regarding their environmental impact and risk to human health. In this study, zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos were exposed to PFASs for six days, to investigate behaviour toxicity and bioconcentration factor (BCF). Nine individual PFASs (five C-4-C-8 perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (PFCAs) (PFPeA, PFHxA, PFHpA, PFOA, PFNA), three C-4, C-6 and C-8 perfluoroalkyl sulfonates (PFSAs) (PFBS, PFHxS, PFOS) and 6:2 fluorotelomersulfonate (6:2 FTSA)) and a mixture of these were investigated at seven concentrations ranging from environmentally relevant to acutely toxic levels. In exposed embryos, significant differences were found in total swimming distance (PFHpA, PFOA, PFNA, PFHxS, PFOS, 6:2 FTSA, PFAS mixture), burst activity (PFOA, PFNA, PFHxS, PFOS, PFAS mixture) and startle response (PFNA, PFHxS, PFOS, PFAS mixture). Toxicity was only observed at concentrations well above environmental levels. The toxicity of the PFAS mixture generally followed that of the individual substances, but the mixture reduced the potencies of individual PFASs. BCF was determined for all nine PFASs and ranged between 0.9 (PFPeA) and 2700 (PFOS). Long-chain PFASs (C-8) and PFASs with sulfonate as an active group showed the greatest toxic potential, while short-chain PFASs (C-6 and C-7) also caused significant behaviour alterations and accumulated in the embryos. To our knowledge, this is the first study to compare the behaviour toxicity of a PFAS mixture with that of the individual PFASs. Follow-up studies are needed to identify the mechanistic responses to PFAS mixtures. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Mixture toxicity; Bioaccumulation; BCF; PFCAs; PFSAs

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2020, Volym: 245, artikelnummer: 125573