Background per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in laboratory fish diet: Implications for zebrafish toxicological studies
By Dunping Cao, Yvonne Rericha, Charles Powley, Lisa Truong, Robyn L Tanguay, and Jennifer A Field
Sci Total Environ
June 21, 2022
Current attention is focused on determining the potential for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to adversely impact human health. Zebrafish are a popular biological model because they share early development pathways with humans. A dietary exposure paradigm is growing in popularity in the zebrafish model because the outcomes often translate to humans. To create a diet of known composition, it is crucial to understand background PFAS levels present in zebrafish diet. Background PFAS, if present, potentially confounds interpretation of toxicological data. To date, no studies document the PFAS background levels in laboratory fish diet and there is only limited information on some pet foods. The objective of this study was to develop and validate an analytical method for up to 50 target PFAS in high lipid and protein content laboratory fish diets and pet foods. Long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (C9-C13) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) were quantified in 11 out of 16 laboratory fish diets and in three out of five pet fish foods. Foods for pet birds, lizards, and dogs were below the limit of detection for all PFAS. In two of the laboratory fish diets, PFOS concentrations were >1.3 ng/g and the total PFAS for the three laboratory fish diets exceeded 1.0 ng/g. Hundreds of biomedical laboratories across the world utilize these commercial laboratory fish diets, and these results indicate that numerous zebrafish colonies may be inadvertently receiving significant dietary PFAS exposures. In light of this new information, it is critical to design PFAS studies with appropriate controls with measured background PFAS concentrations in the diet and to urge caution when interpreting the results.