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In ovo exposure to brominated flame retardants Part I: Assessment of effects of TBBPA-BDBPE on survival, morphometric and physiological endpoints in zebra finches

May 2, 2019

Tetrabromobisphenol A bis(2,3-dibromopropyl) ether (TBBPA-BDBPE) is an additive flame retardant used in polyolefins and polymers. It has been detected in biota, including in avian eggs, yet little is known of its effects. We assessed the pattern of TBBPA-BDBPE concentrations in songbird eggs over the incubation period, and the effects of embryonic exposure to TBBPA-BDBPE in a model songbird species, the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). To assess concentrations during embryo development, eggs were injected on the day they were laid with the vehicle control (safflower oil) or 100 ng TBBPA-BDBPE/g egg, and whole egg contents were collected throughout embryonic development on day 0 (unincubated), 5, 10 and 13. To evaluate effects of embryonic exposure to TBBPA-BDBPE, eggs were injected at Hamburger-Hamilton stage 18 (~80 hours after initiation of incubation) with safflower oil only, 10, 50 or 100 ng TBBPA-BDBPE/g egg (albumin injection volume 1 µl/g). Eggs were monitored for hatching success, and nestlings were monitored for growth and survival. At 15 days post-hatch, tissues were collected to assess physiological effects. TBBPA-BDBPE was incorporated into the egg as the embryo developed, and concentrations started declining in late incubation, suggesting biotransformation by the embryo. There were no effects on hatching success, nestling survival, growth, organ somatic indices, or thyroid hormone homeostasis; however, there was evidence that body condition declined in a dose-dependent manner towards the end of the rapid nestling growth phase. This decreased body condition could be a delayed effect of early developmental exposure, or it may be the result of increased exposure to biotransformation products of TBBPA-BDBPE produced over the nestling period, which are predicted to be more bioaccumulative and toxic than the parent compound.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2019
Title In ovo exposure to brominated flame retardants Part I: Assessment of effects of TBBPA-BDBPE on survival, morphometric and physiological endpoints in zebra finches
DOI 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2019.04.048
Authors Margaret Eng, Tony D. Williams, Kim J. Fernie, Natalie K. Karouna-Renier, Paula F. P. Henry, Robert J. Letcher, John E. Elliott
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Series Number
Index ID 70203258
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center