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Peer-Review Record

Unravelling Relationships between In Vivo Effects on Plants and Detected Pesticide Mixtures in Freshwaters of a South-European Agro-Ecosystem

Water 2023, 15(16), 2936;
by Emília Silva *, Guilherme Anágua Narciso and Joel Carvalho Castro
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Reviewer 3:
Reviewer 4: Anonymous
Water 2023, 15(16), 2936;
Submission received: 6 July 2023 / Revised: 5 August 2023 / Accepted: 7 August 2023 / Published: 15 August 2023
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chemical Analysis and Ecotoxicological Effects in Aquatic Ecosystems)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

Reviewer Comments V1:

L48: “…there is still a lack of information on how plants react to these compounds.”

In view of the excessive length of the first paragraph, doesn't it seem to the authors that the first "full stop" of the paper could be inserted here?

It seems to me that the introduction is "too generalist" for the interest that I "sense" the authors are pursuing.

L78-81: What the test is designed for, its characteristics and the regulations to which it conforms is more appropriate to the section "material and methods", not to the introduction.

Perhaps, in the introduction, the work carried out with this test, on plants similar or similar to those of the authors, and similar conditions (to then discuss the results in the discussion section) could have been cited.

L81-85: Right behind the paper's target?

I thought I had already read this explanation, written in a different form, in the previous paragraph. I think it is redundant. If the authors wish to emphasise these aspects, they can do so in previous paragraphs, accompanied by relevant literature on that aspect.

L85-86: I believe that this is not the appropriate place for this statement. As it is an "implication for future studies", it could well go at the end of the discussion and/or conclusions.

O... well justified, in the introduction, in previous paragraphs, with corresponding citations to support the statement.

L102: bibliographic citation that does not comply with the journal's format.

L146: A decree law or any governmental administrative order is not a bibliographic reference, because it has not been reviewed by anonymous peers. Therefore, I suggest that it be cited "in the text", stating: "the correlative number of the Decree", "its title", the number of the official document in which it is published and the date of its publication. Nothing more!

L159: Same comment as in the previous paragraph.

L227: Same comment as in the previous paragraph.

L251: I think the results would be much clearer if instead of showing them in that figure, the exact values (averages) were shown in a table where they are all displayed. For most pesticides it is very difficult to know what is the amount found by the authors at the different sampling sites and dates.

L296: Same comment for bibliographic citations that are not scientific literature.

L390-398: It does not seem to the authors that these assertions could be supported by scientific bibliographical citations where interested readers could go deeper. This looks like an expert dissertation in a course for students...

L399-403: Well, it was strange: we had already read about it in the results and... here, in the discussion, is where the authors should "try to explain" the reason for it.

L403-412: And isn't that precisely why the authors' article is so interesting? Is it not the results obtained by the authors that should contribute to the updating of toxic levels where they are absent? I think that the authors make little use of their results.

L412-422: Without downplaying the importance of what the authors express here, it seems to me that they are "rambling" and "speculating" about something that has little to do with the results they have obtained.

Moreover, they continue with the long paragraphs.

L466-468: Isn't this repeated? Haven't the authors explained it in the introduction?


The conclusions could be improved and nuanced a little more but... even so, they are acceptable.

L518: I don't know if this reference complies with the format of the magazine. In addition, it is difficult to find on the internet with that information.



In general, the results obtained by the authors are relevant, not very abundant in the scientific bibliography and... less in European and governmental standards. Not for this reason they detract from being shown to the rest of the world's researchers. Therefore, it seems to me that the authors could do the following: (a) structure their results more clearly, showing the data obtained for each of the substances analyzed; and (b) honestly discuss the "opportunity" of including them (their results) in possible standards. I think there is a lack of bibliographic review on the effect of these substances on plants and aquatic organisms; beyond books and encyclopedias.

Author Response

Please see the attachment

Author Response File: Author Response.docx

Reviewer 2 Report

This is an interesting manuscript on an important matter. also little progress has been done on the additive nature of pollutants and I congratulate the authors on their task. Please see and answer the following

1. give a map of the sampling area

2. for all materials and methods give for equipment and reagents  model if available, manufacturer, city and country of origin

3. please elaborate why you chose these pesticides, please whenever possible give EFSA opinion on these pesticides especially on their ecotoxcity profile. For the same reason, I find it a bit difficult to accept that there are not enough ectoxicity data on these substances since this is a requisite to have them registered, are these some obsolete pesticides? also these data are publically available in the form of EFSA opinions. please elaborate

4. for so many results the references are quite few, this is an important ongoing discussion on synergy of pesticides so the references should be enriched and not only with legislations (eg the national legislations described here are minimally useful, instead maybe quote some relevant directives and regulations eg see

eg see Kungolos et al Evaluation of toxic and interactive toxic effects of three agrochemicals and copper using a battery of microbiotests

(2009) Science of the Total Environment, 407 (16), pp. 4610 - 4615,

5. In references please abide by instructions for authors eg give last access day for web based references, have the same format for all references, if references are not in English you should state the language of the reference in brackets etc

moderate corrections

Author Response

Please see the attachment

Author Response File: Author Response.docx

Reviewer 3 Report

Dear authors, my recommendation is that the paper should be accepted in the Water journal. I think there is no need to make any corrections in the work. It is suitable for publication in the form in which it has been submitted to the editorial staff.

Author Response

There was not a review report. The authors did not reply.

Reviewer 4 Report

The research presented here is the study of a surface water collected in a Portugal area, and the effect of pesticide to plant grown using those sample compare to plant grown using distilled water. I enjoy reading your finding and it was very interesting to see the effect that the different samples with different pesticides have on growth or not growth of the plant. Your methodology seems thorough and you apply approved method for your research. The paper might benefit from adding a figure with the map of the area samples, as at the moment if is difficult to understand where you did the sampling if you are not familiar with the area. Another figure beneficial to this study might be a photo of a control plant compare to a plant grown in the surface area water.

The paper presented here is well written, with a good English level.

Author Response

Please see the attachment

Author Response File: Author Response.docx

Round 2

Reviewer 1 Report

Some of the things I mentioned in the first review could still be further improved.
I will not bother you any more with my suggestions, although I wish you had listened to me more.
Best regards and congratulations for your good field and laboratory work.

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