Environmentally relevant concentrations of ammonium perchlorate inhibit development and metamorphosis in Xenopus laevis

Wanda L. Goleman, Lina J. Urquidi, Todd A. Anderson, Ernest E. Smith, Ronald J. Kendall, James A. Carr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations


We determined whether environmentally relevant concentrations of ammonium perchlorate alter development and metamorphosis in Xenopus laevis. Eggs and larvae were exposed to varying concentrations of ammonium perchlorate or control medium for 70 d. Most treatment-related mortality was observed within 5 d after exposure and was due in large part to reduced hatching success. The 5- and 70-d median lethal concentrations (LC50s) were 510 ± 36 mg ammonium perchlorate/L and 223 ± 13 mg ammonium perchlorate/L, respectively. Ammonium perchlorate did not cause any concentration-related developmental abnormalities at concentrations below the 70-d LC50. Ammonium perchlorate inhibited metamorphosis in a concentration-dependent manner as evident from effects on forelimb emergence, tail resorption, and hindlimb growth. These effects were observed after exposure to ammonium perchlorate concentrations in the parts-per-billion range, at or below concentrations reported in surface waters contaminated with ammonium perchlorate. Ammonium perchlorate significantly inhibited tail resorption after a 14-d exposure in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Committee (EDSTAC) Tier I frog metamorphosis assay for thyroid disruption in amphibians. We believe that ammonium perchlorate may pose a threat to normal development and growth in natural amphibian populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-430
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Amphibian decline
  • Anuran
  • Metamorphosis
  • Perchlorate
  • Thyroid


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