Emerging organic contaminants have been monitored in stream waters, raw and finished waters and wastewater effluents. Most of these contaminants, such as epigenetic substances, have been detected at very low levels. Unfortunately, their complete monitoring and/or removal are very difficult, given the increasing presence of new contaminants and due to analytical and economic considerations. For this reason, bioindicators are used as an alternative to monitor their presence. To this end, zebrafish is being used to assess certain contaminants in water quality studies.
As our long-term aim is to determine if zebrafish (Danio rerio) can be used to detect environmental epigenetic factors in drinking waters with effects on human reproduction, an initial question is whether the chorion could interfere with the possible action of epigenetic factors in two reproductive events: genital ridge formation and migration of the primordial germ cells (PGCs) to these genital ridges.
In the first experiment, we attempted to partially degrade the chorion of mid blastula transition (MBT) embryos with pronase, with acceptable survival rates at 5 days post fertilisation (dpf), with the group exposed for 15 min giving the best survival results. As denuded early embryos require a specific culture medium, in the next experiment embryo survival was evaluated when they were cultured up to 5 dpf in drinking waters from six different sources. Results showed a negative effect on embryo survival at 5 dpf from several waters but not in others, thus distorting the survival outcomes. These results suggest using embryos with the chorion intact from the outset when drinking waters from different sources are to be tested.