Saving Nemo report now published!

February 14, 2018

Ethical and cost effective alternatives for direct toxicity assessments - affectionately known as Saving Nemo - is now finished and on the website for members to access.

Industries that discharge wastewater into receiving aquatic environments are often required to perform direct toxicity assessment (DTA) of their discharges. This usually involves exposing live aquatic animals to discharge water, and measuring responses such as development, reproduction and survival. However, these assays have ethical considerations, long exposure times (4-10 days), are dependent on animals being available (either from lab cultures or field collection), and are expensive to run. Cell-based assays can provide an ethical alternative to live animal testing that is high throughput, cost-effective, indicative of live animal responses, and readily available once established in a laboratory.

The initial phase of this project (Phase 1) is presented in this final report, and focused on regulator acceptance of incorporation of in vitro bioassays into DTA programs by:

  1. Conducting a triple-bottom-line (environmental, economic, social) assessment of in vitro vs in vivo bioassays.
  2. Performing a jurisdictional review to assess if there are any legal restrictions to using in vitro bioassays for DTA.
  3. Conducting a literature review to establish current applicability of in vitro bioassays to predict whole animal toxicity for aquatic organisms.

Phase 1 culminated in a workshop in which researchers, regulators and industry representatives discussed the findings of the Milestone reports, and developed a strategy for developing a suite of in vitro bioassays for inclusion in DTA programs in Australia (Phase 2).

You can access the final report from the project webpage - but log in first!

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