Effects of long-term 4-nonylphenol dietary exposure on reproductive ability of Japanese quails (Coturnix japonica)

  • Yan Cheng
  • Zhengjun Shan
  • Junying Zhou
  • Yuanqing Bu
  • Pengfu Li
  • Shan Lu
Research Article


As an endocrine disruptor, 4-nonylphenol (4-NP) is widespread in the environment. Here, we investigated the effect of long-term 4-NP dietary exposure on Japanese quails (Coturnix japonica). A total of 72 quails were evenly divided into 24 cages (12 cages for the reproductive toxicity study and 12 cages for the histopathology study, with one male quail and two female quails in each cage) and fed with various doses of 4-NP in diet. The body weight in quails administered with 4-NP was significantly decreased (P < 0.05) in a time- and dose-dependent manner. The egg fertilization rate significantly decreased (P < 0.05) in all treated groups, which was 91.4%, 86.5%, 85.4%, and 86.2% in the control group, 10 mg·kg−1, 20 mg·kg−1, and 50 mg·kg−1 treatment groups, respectively. Moreover, the hatching rate was also significantly decreased (P < 0.05) in the 50 mg·kg−1 treatment group compared with the control group. Furthermore, the 14-day survival rate of young quails was significantly decreased (P < 0.05) in all treated groups, which was 98.0%, 91.1%, 89.8%, and 86.8% in the control group, 10 mg·kg−1, 20 mg·kg−1, and 50 mg·kg−1 treatment groups, respectively. Damaged spermatogenesis in male quails was found in all treated groups. In conclusion, oral administration of 4-NP impaired the gonads of male quails, leading to reproduction performance damage of Japanese quails.


4-Nonylphenol Coturnix japonica Reproductive ability Toxicity 



This work was supported by the Special Fund for Environmental Scientific Research in the Public Interest (grant no. 2013467026).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

Not applicable.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life SciencesNanjing UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Nanjing Institute of Environmental ScienceMEPNanjingChina

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