An injectable, slow-release implantation method for exposing fish to chemicals over a period of weeks

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A slow-release, injectable implant method was developed for administering test chemicals to cunners Tautogolabrus adspersus.The implant is composed of amatrix of a test chemical homogenized in a mixture of Ethocel (Dow Chemical) and coconut oil. The effectiveness of a subcutaneous implant of this matrix in vivo was determined by tracing plasma concentrations of three separate chemicals (estradiol, ethynylestradiol, and atrazine) over time in treated male cunners. Release from the implant was determined based on the percentage of the implanted concentration of test chemical (plus metabolites) that was detected in fish plasma over a 1-2-week period after implantation. Circulating estrogen concentrations measured in plasma from two different cunners that received the estradiol implant were almost identical, indicating that there is a reasonably even distribution of test chemical within the Ethocel-coconut oil preparation and that individual variability may be minimal for release of test chemical from the implant. Metabolites of estradiol and atrazine were a major portion of the circulating concentration of these chemicals. Estradiol and atrazine demonstrated metabolic and clearance profiles that were very different from those of the xenoestrogen ethynylestradiol. A follow-up in vitro study was conducted to further characterize the release of estradiol from the implant matrix. Results showed a rapid release of estradiol from the matrix bolus during the first 24 h, followed by a more gradual release over subsequent days. The in vitro tests indicated that measuring in vivo plasma concentrations may not accurately reflect the release rate of a chemical from the implant matrix, in part because metabolism and clearance affect the circulating concentrations in vivo. © American Fisheries Society 2012.

Publication Title

North American Journal of Aquaculture