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The terpene (-)-𝛂-pinene can alter locomotion in zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Faculty Advisor




zebrafish, fish behaviour, terpene, pinene

Abstract (summary)

Canada has recently legalized cannabis, and this has resulted in an increased focus on genetic strains and chemica l compounds in cannabis. Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in cannabis and other plants that could have medicinal value. A terpene found in cannabis and other products is 𝛂-pinene. This study used (-)-𝛂-pinene to examine locomotion, anxiety-like behaviour, and boldness in zebrafish (Danio rerio) using a motion-tracking software system. The four experimental groups included a control, and (-)-𝛂-pinene groups at 0.01%, 0.02% and 0.1% (~n=15 each) and each fish was exposed for 10 minutes prior to being placed in the open field test and then the novel object approach test. The time in virtual zones in the arena, distance moved, velocity, meandering, high mobility and immobility of the fish were quantified. There was a significant difference observed between the control and 0.1% group in distance moved, velocity and high mobility in both tests. A significant difference was also found between the control and 0.1% group in time spent between virtual zones in the open field tes t. No significant differences were found in the other parameters and groups. Our results suggest that certain concentrations of (-)-𝛂-pinene may reduce anxiety-like behaviours in zebrafish and impact their locomotion. This research will be used to supplement previous findings as well as inform future research regarding the impacts of different terpenes.

Publication Information



Presented on May 5-6, 2022 at the Undergraduate Research in Science Conference of Alberta (URSCA) Virtual Conference, and April 20, 2023, at Student Research Day held at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta.

Item Type

Student Presentation



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