Use of freshwater rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus in screening assay for potential endocrine disruptors

B. L. Preston, T. W. Snell, T. L. Robertson, Brian J Dingmann

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86 Scopus citations


Reports of the effects of endocrine disruptors on aquatic invertebrates are becoming increasingly common. However, little is known about the endocrine systems of most aquatic invertebrates, limiting the development of assays based on endocrine mechanisms. As a result, endocrine disruption is often inferred through the effects caused by the chemical of interest, making it difficult to rule out other mechanisms of toxicity. To be a good candidate for an endocrine disruptor, effects should be observed in processes known to be under endocrine control, at life stages where endocrine signals are known to be active, and at concentrations below acute and chronic toxic effects. We developed a 96-h reproductive assay using the freshwater rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus to screen for potential endocrine disruptors and examined cadmium, chlorpyrifos, naphthol, pentachlorophenol, estradiol, methoprene, precocene, nonylphenol, flutamide, and testosterone for effects on asexual and sexual reproduction. Flutamide, testosterone, and nonylphenol inhibited fertilization of sexual females at concentrations of 1, 10, and 50 μg/L, respectively. The fertilization no-observable-effect concentrations (NOECs) for these compounds were 5 to 200 times lower than previously described reproduction NOECs for B. calyciflorus. Sexual reproduction was inhibited with no effects on asexual reproduction, increasing the likelihood that these specific reproductive effects occurred through an endocrine mechanism. Rotifer reproduction assays may be a useful, rapid, and inexpensive method for screening compounds suspected to have endocrine disrupting activity in aquatic invertebrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2923-2928
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Asexual reproduction
  • Endocrine disruptor
  • Rotifer
  • Sexual reproduction
  • Toxicity


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