Cyst-Based Toxicity Tests. - V. Development and Critical Evaluation of Standardized Toxicity Tests with the Brine Shrimp Artemia (Anostraca, Crustacea)
Abstract : The use of cryptobiotic stages (called cysts of dormant eggs), from which live test organisms can be hatched at will, eliminates the need for continuous stock culturing and opens a promising perspective for better standardization of test methodologies in aquatic toxicology. Although there are several groups of aquatic invertebrates which produce resting stages, the brine shrimp Artemia(Crustacea, Anostraca) was the very first organism used in toxicity tests starting from cysts.
Considering the need for simple but at the same time reliable test methods for toxicity screening in estuarine and coastal environments, a number of standard methods have been developed, based on both lethal and sublethal endpoints, and with different life stages of the brine shrimp. Since there are no specific guidelines for the development of a standard toxicity test, a general framework was worked out for this specific goal. Next to tests with the conventional criteria involving mortality, growth and reproduction, standard protocols were worked out with less conventional test criteria, e.g., hatchability, phototactic behaviour, food uptake, and recovery.
Taking into account the importance of cost-effectiveness for routine testing, the standard acute mortality test withArtemialarvae has recently been modulated in a kit, containing all (disposable) material to perform a number of toxicity tests. Based on the results of a large intercalibration exercise in Europe, the U.S.A., and Canada, the test methodology has been further improved and theArtemiacyst-based toxicity test is now available under the name of Artoxkit for cost-effective routine screening of xenobiotics in estuarine and marine environments.