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Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 2009 Mar;149(2):196-209. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpc.2008.11.006. Epub 2008 Dec 3.

Is the fish embryo toxicity test (FET) with the zebrafish (Danio rerio) a potential alternative for the fish acute toxicity test?

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Aquatic Ecology and Toxicology Section, Department of Zoology, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 230, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


The fish acute toxicity test is a mandatory component in the base set of data requirements for ecotoxicity testing. The fish acute toxicity test is not compatible with most current animal welfare legislation because mortality is the primary endpoint and it is often hypothesized that fish suffer distress and perhaps pain. Animal alternative considerations have also been incorporated into new European REACH regulations through strong advocacy for the reduction of testing with live animals. One of the most promising alternative approaches to classical acute fish toxicity testing with live fish is the fish embryo toxicity (FET) test. The FET has been a mandatory component in routine whole effluent testing in Germany since 2005 and has already been standardized at the international level. In order to analyze the applicability of the FET also in chemical testing, a comparative re-evaluation of both fish and fish embryo toxicity data was carried out for a total of 143 substances, and statistical approaches were developed to evaluate the correlation between fish and fish embryo toxicity data. Results confirm that fish embryo tests are neither better nor worse than acute fish toxicity tests and provide strong scientific support for the FET as a surrogate for the acute fish toxicity test.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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