DOI: 10.1002/etc.5770 ISSN: 0730-7268

Survival, Growth, and Reproduction Responses in a Three‐Generation Exposure of the Zebrafish (Danio rerio) to Perfluorooctane Sulfonate

Kurt A. Gust, J. Erik Mylroie, Ashley N. Kimble, Mitchell S. Wilbanks, Catherine S. C. Steward, Kacy A. Chapman, Kathleen M. Jensen, Alan J. Kennedy, Paige M. Krupa, Scott A. Waisner, Zacharias Pandelides, Natalia Garcia‐Reyero, Russell J. Erickson, Gerald T. Ankley, Jason Conder, David W. Moore
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Chemistry


A prior multigenerational perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) exposure investigation in zebrafish reported adverse effects at 0.734 µg/L, among the lowest aquatic effect levels for PFOS reported to date. The present three‐generation PFOS exposure quantified survival, growth, reproduction, and vitellogenin (VTG; egg yolk protein) responses in zebrafish, incorporating experimental design and procedural improvements relative to the earlier study. Exposures targeting 0.1, 0.6, 3.2, 20, and 100 µg/L in parental (P) and first filial (F1) generations lasted for 180 days post fertilization (dpf) and the second filial generation (F2) through 16 dpf. Survival decreased significantly in P and F2 generation exposures, but not in F1, at the highest PFOS treatment (100 µg/L nominal, 94–205 µg/L, measured). Significant adverse effects on body weight and length were infrequent, of low magnitude, and occurred predominantly at the highest exposure treatment. Finally, PFOS had no significant effects on P or F1 egg production and survival or whole‐body VTG levels in P or F1 male fish. Overall, the predominance and magnitude of adverse PFOS effects at <1 µg/L reported in prior research were largely nonrepeatable in the present study. In contrast, the present study indicated a threshold for ecologically relevant adverse effects in zebrafish at 117 µg/L (SE 8 µg/L, n = 10) for survival and 47 µg/L (SE 11 µg/L, n = 19) for all statistically significant negative effects observed. Environ Toxicol Chem 2023;00:1–17. © 2023 The Authors. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of SETAC. This article has been contributed to by U.S. Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA.

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