Acute and long-term toxicity tests with fish required for the environmental risk assessment – besides statutory tests on rodents for product safety within the human health risk assessment – contribute to the still rising number of animal tests. However, the development of additional regulatory tests to safeguard environmental and consumer protection are underway. The addition of farmed fish species (rainbow trout, carp) to the spectrum of animals used for food production, which are to be tested in metabolism studies, is currently implemented. Accordingly, the demand for animal test replacement and refinement methods is high, whereas the availability of effective and accepted alternatives is limited. For this reason, the Fraunhofer IME actively engages in the development of fish embryo-based and cellular as well as invertebrate alternative methods.
The fish embryo toxicity test (FET) according to DIN 38415-T6, also known as the fish egg test, already replaces mandatory tests on fish for wastewater effluent in Germany since 2005. Internationally, it is being discussed whether to use the FET as a replacement or refinement method also for acute fish tests as required for the registration and evaluation of chemicals. The FET complies with the 3R principles since according to the current European legislation (Directive 2010/63/EC), fish embryos are not considered protected animal.
An ongoing project cooperation with the University of Bern investigates whether fish cell culture studies in combination with kinetic modeling could replace fish bioaccumulation studies (concentration and magnification).
By improving mechanism-specific quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) methodologies the number of animal test required is further condensed.
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