Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 4913–4923 | Cite as

Developmental toxicity of the triazole fungicide cyproconazole in embryo-larval stages of zebrafish (Danio rerio)

  • Fangjie Cao
  • Christopher L. SoudersII
  • Pengfei Li
  • Sen Pang
  • Lihong Qiu
  • Christopher J. MartyniukEmail author
Research Article


Cyproconazole is a triazole fungicide used to protect a diverse range of fruits, vegetables, and grain crops. As such, it has the potential to enter aquatic environments and affect non-target organisms. The objective of this study was to assess the acute toxicity of the triazole fungicide cyproconazole to zebrafish embryos by assessing mortality, developmental defects, morphological abnormality, oxidative respiration, and locomotor activity following a 96-h exposure. Zebrafish embryos at 6-h post-fertilization (hpf) were exposed to either a solvent control (0.1% DMSO, v/v), or one dose of 10, 25, 50, 100, 250, and 500 μM cyproconazole for 96 h. Data indicated that cyproconazole exhibited low toxicity to zebrafish embryos, with a 96-h LC50 value of 90.6 μM (~ 26.4 mg/L). Zebrafish embryos/larvae displayed a significant decrease in spontaneous movement, hatching rate, and heartbeats/20 s with 50, 100, and 250 μM cyproconazole exposure. Malformations (i.e., pericardial edema, yolk sac edema, tail deformation, and spine deformation) were also detected in zebrafish exposed to ≥ 50 μM cyproconazole, with significant increases in cumulative deformity rate at 48, 72, and 96 hpf. In addition, a 20–30% decrease in basal and oligomycin-induced ATP respiration was observed after 24-h exposure to 500 μM cyproconazole in embryos. To determine if cyproconazole affected locomotor activity, a dark photokinesis assay was conducted in larvae following 7-day exposure to 1, 10, and 25 μM cyproconazole in two independent trials. Activity in the dark period was decreased for zebrafish exposed to 25 μM cyproconazole in the first trial, and hypoactivity was also observed in zebrafish exposed to 1 μM cyproconazole in a second trial, suggesting that cyproconazole can affect locomotor activity. These data improve understanding of the toxicity of cyproconazole in developing zebrafish and contribute to environmental risk assessments for the triazole fungicides on aquatic organisms. We report that, based on the overall endpoints assessed, cyproconazole exhibits low risk for developing fish embryos, as many effects were observed above environmentally-relevant levels.


Cyproconazole Zebrafish embryos Developmental defects Malformations Oxidative respiration Locomotor activity 



Days post-fertilization


Hours post-fertilization


Oxygen consumption rate


Pericardial edema


Spinal deformation


Tail deformation


Yolk sac edema



We thank Edward Flynn and Animal Care Services at U Florida for zebrafish husbandry and technical support.

Funding information

This research is funded by the University of Florida, the College of Veterinary Medicine (CJM), and by the China Scholarship Council (CSC) for Fangjie Cao (No. 201706350062) to visit the University of Florida.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3957_MOESM1_ESM.docx (304 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 303 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fangjie Cao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christopher L. SoudersII
    • 2
  • Pengfei Li
    • 3
  • Sen Pang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lihong Qiu
    • 1
  • Christopher J. Martyniuk
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Applied Chemistry, College of ScienceChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Physiological Sciences and Center for Environmental and Human Toxicology, University of Florida Genetics Institute, Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences Neuroscience, College of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory for Biology of Plant Diseases and Insect Pests, Institute of Plant ProtectionChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingChina

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