Kent, M.L., Buchner, C., Barton, C., and Tanguay, R.L. (2014) Toxicity of chlorine to zebrafish embryos. Diseases of aquatic organisms. 107(3):235-240.
Surface disinfection of fertilized fish eggs is widely used in aquaculture to reduce extraovum pathogens that may be released from brood fish during spawning, and this is routinely used in zebrafish Danio rerio research laboratories. Most laboratories use approximately 25 to 50 ppm unbuffered chlorine solution for 5 to 10 min. Treatment of embryos with chlorine has significant germicidal effects for many Gram-negative bacteria, viruses, and trophozoite stages of protozoa, but is less effective against cyst or spore stages of protozoa and certain Mycobacterium spp. Therefore, we evaluated the toxicity of unbuffered and buffered chlorine solutions to embryos exposed at 6 or 24 h post-fertilization (hpf) to determine whether higher concentrations can be used for treating zebrafish embryos. Most of our experiments entailed using an outbred line (5D), with both mortality and malformations as endpoints. We found that 6 hpf embryos consistently were more resistant than 24 hpf embryos to the toxic effects of chlorine. Chlorine is more toxic and germicidal at lower pH, and chlorine causes elevated pH. Consistent with this, we found that unbuffered chlorine solutions (pH ca. 8-9) were less toxic at corresponding concentrations than solutions buffered to pH 7. Based on our findings here, we recommend treating 6 hpf embryos for 10 min and 24 hpf embryos for 5 min with unbuffered chlorine solution at 100 ppm.
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