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Keywords:

  • Chicken;
  • Egg injection;
  • Incubation;
  • Polychlorinated biphenyl 126

Abstract

The avian egg is used extensively for chemical screening and determining the relative sensitivity of species to environmental contaminants (e.g., metals, pesticides, polyhalogenated compounds). The effect of egg incubation position on embryonic survival, pipping, and hatching success was examined following air cell administration of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congener 126 (3,3′,4,4′,5-pentachlorobiphenyl [PCB 126]; 500–2,000 pg/g egg) on day 4 of development in fertile chicken (Gallus gallus) eggs. Depending on dose, toxicity was found to be up to nine times greater in vertically versus horizontally incubated eggs. This may be due to enhanced embryonic exposure to the injection bolus in vertically incubated eggs compared to more gradual uptake in horizontally incubated eggs. Following air cell administration of PCB 126, horizontal incubation of eggs may more closely approximate uptake and toxicity that has been observed with naturally incorporated contaminants. These data have implications for chemical screening and use of laboratory data for ecological risk assessments.