Effects of UV filter 4-methylbenzylidene camphor during early development of Solea senegalensis Kaup, 1858


4MBC induced mortality, malformations and reduced growth in S. senegalensis larvae.

Swimming behaviour was affected by 4MBC at low concentrations.

4MBC caused alterations in AChE and LDH biochemical markers.

Assessment of behaviour is recommended in ecotoxicological studies with sole larvae.


The inclusion of organic UV filters in personal care products (PCPs) has increased in recent years. 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor (4MBC) is one of the most used UV filters, and thus it is commonly found in aquatic ecosystems, with proved negative effects on aquatic organisms. Effects on early life stages of marine vertebrates are largely unknown. Therefore, the main goal of this work was to evaluate 4MBC effects on Senegalese sole (Solea Senegalensis Kaup, 1858) larvae at different levels of biological organization. S. senegalensis were exposed to increasing concentrations of 4MBC from egg stage until 96 h. Mortality, growth, malformations, behaviour and biochemical responses, including enzymatic biomarkers were studied. The exposure to 4MBC until 96 h post-fertilization (hpf) induced mortality and malformations in a dose-response manner. Besides, reduced growth with increasing concentrations was observed. The exposure to 4MBC also caused alterations on behaviour, including overall lower swimming time during light and dark periods. Biomarkers alterations caused by 4MBC included imbalance of neurotransmission related endpoints (increased acetylcholinesterase activity) and decreased activity of enzymes related to anaerobic metabolism (lower cellular lactate dehydrogenase activity) at the lower concentrations tested. Furthermore, our results suggest that 4MBC do not induce oxidative stress in S. senegalensis larvae, since catalase and lipid peroxidation levels were not significantly altered by 4MBC.

S. senegalensis revealed to be a good model species for vertebrate animal testing in the marine environment. Sub-lethal concentrations of 4MBC induced toxic effects at all organizational levels. Swimming behaviour was a sensitive endpoint and showed that exposure to 4MBC causes impairment on response to light stimulus which is possibly linked with the observed imbalances on cholinesterase activity in larvae. Conservation concerns along distribution range of S. senegalensis should consider that increasing levels of UV filters in marine environment might have impact on the ecology of the species.

Link to the publication :