Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) is commonly added during the manufacturing of plastics to increase flexibility and elasticity. However, BBP leaches off of plastic and environment presence has been detected in soil, groundwater and sediment potentially effecting organisms in the environment. Given the widespread uses of BBP in household, consumer goods and the presence of BBP in the environment, studies on developmental toxicity are needed. Here, we use a zebrafish model to investigate the early developmental toxicity of BBP. We treated gastrula staged embryos with increasing concentrations of BBP and noted concentration-dependent defects in caudal tail development, but the effect was caudal specific with no other developmental defects noted. In situ hybridization studies using muscle and notochord markers show alterations in muscle development and non-linear, kinked notochord staining. A more detailed antibody staining using a myosin specific marker shows disorganized myofibrils and a loss of chevron shaped somites. Furthermore, vascular development in the tail was also disrupted in a concentration dependent manner. We conclude that BBP is toxic to caudal development in zebrafish. The sensitivity of zebrafish during development to environmental toxins and chemicals has been useful in assessing the health of the aquatic environment. The results presented here are a useful early warning system for contamination that could affect human health.
Roy, N.M., Zambrzycka, E., Santangelo, J. (2017). Butyl Benzyl Phthalate (BBP) induces caudal defects during embryonic development. Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology, 56, 129-135. doi:10.1016/j.etap.2017.09.009
Version posted is the authors' accepted manuscript.
Ewelina Zambrzycka and Jenna Santangelo are undergraduate Biology students at Sacred Heart University.