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Environ Toxicol. 2020 Feb;35(2):254-267. doi: 10.1002/tox.22862. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

Investigation into the sub-lethal effects of the triazole fungicide triticonazole in zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos/larvae.

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Department of Physiological Sciences and Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology, University of Florida Genetics Institute, Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences Neuroscience, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.


Global use of azole fungicides is expected to increase over the next several years. Triticonazole is a triazole fungicide that is used for turf protection, residential, and other commercial applications. As such, it can enter local rural and urban water systems via run-off and rain events. Early life stages of aquatic organisms can be susceptible to pesticides that enter the water, but in the case of triticonazole, data on the potential for subacute toxicity are lacking. Here, we determined the effects of triticonazole on development, oxygen consumption rates, and locomotor activity in zebrafish to address this knowledge gap. Wild-type zebrafish (ABTu strain) embryos and larvae were exposed to triticonazole (1-100 μM) in early development for different lengths of time depending on the assay conducted. Triticonazole did not affect survival nor induce significant deformity (pericardial edema, skeletal defects) in zebrafish at doses up to 100 μM. Oxygen consumption rate was measured in embryos after 24 and 48 hour exposure to triticonazole beginning at ∼6 hpf using the XFe flux analyzer. Triticonazole did not affect basal respiration, oligomycin-induced ATP linked respiration, FCCP-induced maximum respiration, proton leak, spare capacity, nor non-mitochondrial respiration at doses up to 100 μM for 24 hours, even for exposure up to 250 μM for 48 hours. To determine whether the fungicide affected larval swimming activity, the visual motor response test was conducted following triticonazole exposure for 6 days. Larval zebrafish exposed to triticonazole showed hypoactivity in the dark following a 100 μM treatment, suggesting that the fungicide can affect the locomotor activity of zebrafish, albeit at relatively high levels. Given the fact that sublethal biological responses were absent at lower environmentally relevant concentrations, we conclude that triticonazole, relative to other triazole fungicides and types of pesticides, exhibits a relatively low risk of toxicity to the early life stages of fish.


behavior; development; ecotoxicology; oxidative respiration


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