The zebrafish embryotoxicity test (ZET) is a fast and simple method to study chemical toxicity after exposure of the complete vertebrate embryo during embryogenesis in ovo. We developed a novel quantitative evaluation method to assess the development of the zebrafish embryo based on specific endpoints in time, the general morphology score (GMS) system. For teratogenic effects a separate scoring list was developed. The relative effects of eight glycol ethers and six 1,2,4-triazole anti-fungals were evaluated in this system and results were compared with in vivo developmental toxicity potencies. Methoxyacetic acid and ethoxyacetic acid appeared as the most potent glycol ether metabolites, inducing growth retardation and malformations. Other glycol ethers showed no developmental toxicity. Flusilazole appeared the most potent triazole, followed by hexaconazole, cyproconazole, triadimefon, myclobutanil and triticonazole, respectively. In general, the potency ranking of the compounds within their class in the ZET was comparable to their in vivo ranking. In conclusion, the ZET with the GMS system appears an efficient and useful test system for screening embryotoxic properties of chemicals within the classes of compounds tested. This alternative test method may also be useful for the detection of embryotoxic properties of other classes of chemicals.
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