Toxicity of Aqueous l-Selenomethionine Exposure to Early Life-Stages of the Fathead Minnow (Pimephales promelas)

  • Allyson K. Gerhart
  • Markus Hecker
  • David M. JanzEmail author


Aqueous exposures to selenomethionine (SeMet), the major form of selenium (Se) in the diet, represent a rapid and simplified method for determining the embryotoxic effects of SeMet. Using fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) as a model test organism, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of waterborne exposure to elevated SeMet on embryos from fertilization to swim-up. Newly fertilized embryos were exposed for 6 days to 30, 90, 270, 810, 2430, 7290, 21,870, and 65,610 µg Se/L (as SeMet). Survival, hatchability, days to hatch, and the frequency and severity of deformities (total and type) were quantified. SeMet exposure reduced hatchability and days to hatch at concentrations ≥ 21870 µg/L. Significant decreases in survival and significant increases in the incidence and severity of deformities were observed at concentrations ≥ 810 µg/L. The results suggest that early life-stage fathead minnows are more tolerant to aqueous exposure to SeMet compared to medaka and zebrafish.


Fish Embryo Selenium Selenomethionine Aqueous Deformities 



This study was supported by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant (RGPIN-2016-05131) to DMJ and a Toxicology Graduate program scholarship to AKG. The authors thank L. Kapronczai, T. Lane and C. Grimard for their laboratory assistance.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allyson K. Gerhart
    • 1
  • Markus Hecker
    • 2
    • 3
  • David M. Janz
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Toxicology Graduate ProgramUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.School of the Environment and SustainabilityUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  3. 3.Toxicology CentreUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  4. 4.Department of Veterinary Biomedical SciencesUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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