Atrazine reduces reproduction in fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas)

Aquatic Toxicology
By: , and 



Atrazine, the widely used herbicide, has shown to affect the hypothalamus–pituitary–gonad axis in certain vertebrate species, but few studies have examined reproductive effects of this chemical on fish. Our study was designed to evaluate a population endpoint (egg production) in conjunction with histological (e.g., gonad development) and biochemical (e.g., hormone production) phenotypes associated with atrazine exposure in fathead minnows. Adult virgin breeding groups of 1 male and 2 females were exposed to nominal concentrations of 0, 0.5, 5.0, and 50 μg/L of atrazine in a flow-through diluter for 14 or 30 days. Total egg production was lower (19–39%) in all atrazine-exposed groups as compared to the controls. The decreases in cumulative egg production of atrazine treated fish were significant by 17–20 days of exposure. Reductions in egg production in atrazine treatment groups were most attributable to reduced numbers of spawning events with increased atrazine exposure concentrations. Gonad abnormalities were observed in both male and female fish of atrazine-exposed fish. Our results also indicate that atrazine reduces egg production through alteration of final maturation of oocytes. The reproductive effects observed in this study warrant further investigation and evaluation of the potential risks posed by atrazine, particularly feral populations of fish from streams in agricultural areas with high use of this herbicide.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Atrazine reduces reproduction in fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas)
Series title Aquatic Toxicology
DOI 10.1016/j.aquatox.2010.04.011
Volume 99
Issue 2
Year Published 2010
Language English
Contributing office(s) Contaminant Biology Program
Description 11 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Aquatic Toxicology
First page 149
Last page 159
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