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University of California-Davis

Superfund Research Program

Aquatic Biomarkers in Site Characterization and Remediation

Project Leader: David E. Hinton (Duke University)
Grant Number: P42ES004699
Funding Period: 1995 - 2005

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Project Summary (1995-2000)

The overall objective of this project is to integrate conventional aquatic toxicity approaches with state of the art methodologies to establish biomarkers of response to toxic components of complex waste mixtures. Fish are proven environmental sentinels. Specifically, the medaka (Oryzias latipes), a small aquarium teleost fish, is being used as an in vivo model for fast screening toxicity of chemical contaminant mixtures isolated from soils, water and air at toxic waste sites. Medaka embryos in laboratory control settings have proven to be valuable surrogates for assessing stress responses induced by xenobiotics. This is a particularly appropriate organism for achieving project objectives, because the rapid development of medaka embryos are easily monitored due to their transparent chorion, offering an alternative to other toxicity tests. The assays developed during this study will be used to screen specific sediment extracts from estuarine and coastal habitats and the technology transferred to appropriate state and federal agencies.

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