Special Issue "Impacts of Agrochemicals on Aquatic Ecosystems: Assessing Responses across Biological Scales"

A special issue of Toxics (ISSN 2305-6304). This special issue belongs to the section "Ecotoxicology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Susanne M. Brander
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Guest Editor
Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station, Departments of Fisheries and Wildlife & Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
Interests: contaminants of emerging concern; agrochemicals; microplastics; risk assessment; ecotoxicology; epigenetics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Alvine C. Mehinto
E-Mail
Guest Editor
Department of Toxicology, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project Authority
Interests: contaminants of emerging concern; agrochemicals; risk assessment; aquatic toxicology; biomarkers; molecular toxicology

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Agrochemicals such as herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides from numerous chemical classes are demonstrated to impact nontarget organisms in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Mobilized by processes such as precipitation and erosion, these compounds cause toxicity via intended and off-target mechanisms, causing lethal and sublethal effects across a diversity of taxa. In addition to the active ingredients, many formulations of biocides include surfactants or other additives or are delivered in nanoparticle form, which can add to or alter adverse responses following exposure. Effects of herbicide, fungicide, and insecticide exposure range from lethality to a range of sublethal impacts such as altered growth, changes in swimming behavior or ability, lowered fecundity, and developmental defects, and the molecular mechanisms underpinning these. The cumulative impact of exposure to agrochemicals in the context of a changing global climate is also important to consider, as increased temperature, altered salinity regimes, and hypoxia are known to exacerbate the impact of agrochemical exposure.

This issue will explore a variety of topics related to the effects of agricultural pesticides and their metabolites on ecosystems, including mechanisms of toxicity, metabolism, ecological impacts, risk assessment, multiple stressor impacts in the context of global climate change, and consideration of the potential for adaptation to exposures.

Dr. Susanne M. Brander
Dr. Alvine C. Mehinto
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • pesticide
  • herbicide
  • fungicide
  • multiple stressors
  • agrochemical
  • bioindicator
  • risk assessment
  • ecotoxicity

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Article
Which Is More Toxic? Evaluation of the Short-Term Toxic Effects of Chlorpyrifos and Cypermethrin on Selected Biomarkers in Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio, Linnaeus 1758)
Toxics 2021, 9(6), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics9060125 - 31 May 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1034
Abstract
The general aim of this study was to investigate the negative short-term effects of different concentrations of chlorpyrifos (CPF) and cypermethrin (CYP), based on the EU legislation (MAC-EQS) in common carp (Cyprinus carpio Linnaeus, 1758) under laboratory conditions and to compare their [...] Read more.
The general aim of this study was to investigate the negative short-term effects of different concentrations of chlorpyrifos (CPF) and cypermethrin (CYP), based on the EU legislation (MAC-EQS) in common carp (Cyprinus carpio Linnaeus, 1758) under laboratory conditions and to compare their toxicity. The fish were exposed to the pesticides for 96 h and then different histological and biochemical biomarkers were investigated in the gills and liver, and bioaccumulation analyses were conducted. The chemical studies showed increased pesticide concentrations in the gills as the first site for pollutants compared to the liver at the 96th hour. In addition, the histological analyses showed severe alterations in the gills and liver after exposure to both tested pesticides. In the gills, we found mainly intense proliferative and, to a lesser extent, degenerative changes and alterations in the circulatory system, such as necrosis and vasodilation. In the liver, regressive and progressive lesions, as well as circulatory disturbances and inflammation, were observed. The regressive lesions showed a higher degree of expression compared to the other changes. Furthermore, we found altered enzymatic activities—catalase, glutathione reductase, and glutathione peroxidase—in the liver, compared to the control. Overall, both tested pesticides impacted the studied biomarkers in common carp, even at concentrations lower than those permitted by law. However, the results of the comparative analysis showed a relatively higher toxicity of CYP compared to CPF in the fish. Still, questions persist as to whether the observed changes are adaptive or entirely destructive. To avoid any danger or risk, these pesticides must be applied cautiously, especially near water bodies. Full article
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Article
Salinity Alters Toxicity of Commonly Used Pesticides in a Model Euryhaline Fish Species (Menidia beryllina)
Toxics 2021, 9(5), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics9050114 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1003
Abstract
Changing salinity in estuaries due to sea level rise and altered rainfall patterns, as a result of climate change, has the potential to influence the interactions of aquatic pollutants as well as to alter their toxicity. From a chemical property point of view, [...] Read more.
Changing salinity in estuaries due to sea level rise and altered rainfall patterns, as a result of climate change, has the potential to influence the interactions of aquatic pollutants as well as to alter their toxicity. From a chemical property point of view, ionic concentration can increase the octanol–water partition coefficient and thus decrease the water solubility of a compound. Biologically, organism physiology and enzyme metabolism are also altered at different salinities with implications for drug metabolism and toxic effects. This highlights the need to understand the influence of salinity on pesticide toxicity when assessing risk to estuarine and marine fishes, particularly considering that climate change is predicted to alter salinity regimes globally and many risk assessments and regulatory decisions are made using freshwater studies. Therefore, we exposed the Inland Silverside (Menidia beryllina) at an early life stage to seven commonly used pesticides at two salinities relevant to estuarine waters (5 PSU and 15 PSU). Triadimefon was the only compound to show a statistically significant increase in toxicity at the 15 PSU LC50. However, all compounds showed a decrease in LC50 values at the higher salinity, and all but one showed a decrease in the LC10 value. Many organisms rely on estuaries as nurseries and increased toxicity at higher salinities may mean that organisms in critical life stages of development are at risk of experiencing adverse, toxic effects. The differences in toxicity demonstrated here have important implications for organisms living within estuarine and marine ecosystems in the Anthropocene as climate change alters estuarine salinity regimes globally. Full article
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Article
Environmental Risk of Pesticides for Fish in Small- and Medium-Sized Streams of Switzerland
Toxics 2021, 9(4), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics9040079 - 08 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1839
Abstract
This study assessed the acute and chronic risk of pesticides, singly and as mixtures, for fish using comprehensive chemical data of four monitoring studies conducted in small- and medium-sized streams of Switzerland between 2012 and 2018. Pesticides were ranked based on single substance [...] Read more.
This study assessed the acute and chronic risk of pesticides, singly and as mixtures, for fish using comprehensive chemical data of four monitoring studies conducted in small- and medium-sized streams of Switzerland between 2012 and 2018. Pesticides were ranked based on single substance risk quotients and relative contribution to mixture risk. Concentrations of the pyrethroid insecticides, λ-cyhalothrin, cypermethrin and deltamethrin, and the fungicides, carbendazim and fenpropimorph, posed acute or chronic single substance risks. Risk quotients of eighteen additional pesticides were equal or greater than 0.1, and thirteen of those contributed ≥30% to mixture risk. Relatively few substances dominated the mixture risk in most water samples, with chronic and acute maximum cumulative ratios never exceeding 5 and 7, respectively. A literature review of toxicity data showed that concentrations of several pesticides detected in Swiss streams were sufficient to cause direct sublethal effects on fish in laboratory studies. Based on the results of our study, we conclude that pesticides detected in Swiss streams, especially pyrethroid insecticides, fungicides and pesticide mixtures, pose a risk to fish health and can cause direct sublethal effects at environmental concentrations. Sensitive life stages of species with highly specialized life history traits may be particularly vulnerable; however, the lack of toxicity data for non-model species currently prevents a conclusive assessment across species. Full article
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Article
Transcriptomic and Histopathological Effects of Bifenthrin to the Brain of Juvenile Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)
Toxics 2021, 9(3), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics9030048 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 822
Abstract
The increased global use of pyrethroids raises concern for non-target aquatic species. Bifenthrin, among the most predominantly detected pyrethroids in the environment, is frequently measured in water samples above concentrations reported to induce neuroendocrine and neurotoxic effects to several threatened and endangered fish [...] Read more.
The increased global use of pyrethroids raises concern for non-target aquatic species. Bifenthrin, among the most predominantly detected pyrethroids in the environment, is frequently measured in water samples above concentrations reported to induce neuroendocrine and neurotoxic effects to several threatened and endangered fish species, such as the Chinook salmon and steelhead trout. To better characterize the neurotoxic effect of bifenthrin to salmonids, rainbow trout were treated with environmentally relevant concentrations of bifenthrin (15 and 30 ng/L) for two weeks and assessed for changes in transcriptomic profiles and histopathological alterations. The top bioinformatic pathways predicted to be impaired in bifenthrin-exposed trout were involved in gonadotropin releasing hormone signaling, the dysregulation of iron homeostasis, reduced extracellular matrix stability and adhesion, and cell death. Subsequent histopathological analysis showed a significant increase in TUNEL positive cells in the cerebellum and optic tectum of bifenthrin-treated trout, relative to controls (p < 0.05). These findings suggest that low, ng/L concentrations of bifenthrin are capable of dysregulating proper neuroendocrine function, impair the structural integrity of the extracellular matrix and cell signaling pathways in the brain, and induce apoptosis in neurons of juvenile salmonids following bifenthrin treatment, which is consistent with metabolomic profiles demonstrating a common target and mechanism. Full article
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Article
Exploring Biophysical Linkages between Coastal Forestry Management Practices and Aquatic Bivalve Contaminant Exposure
Toxics 2021, 9(3), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics9030046 - 02 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1488
Abstract
Terrestrial land use activities present cross-ecosystem threats to riverine and marine species and processes. Specifically, pesticide runoff can disrupt hormonal, reproductive, and developmental processes in aquatic organisms, yet non-point source pollution is difficult to trace and quantify. In Oregon, U.S.A., state and federal [...] Read more.
Terrestrial land use activities present cross-ecosystem threats to riverine and marine species and processes. Specifically, pesticide runoff can disrupt hormonal, reproductive, and developmental processes in aquatic organisms, yet non-point source pollution is difficult to trace and quantify. In Oregon, U.S.A., state and federal forestry pesticide regulations, designed to meet regulatory water quality requirements, differ in buffer size and pesticide applications. We deployed passive water samplers and collected riverine and estuarine bivalves Margaritifera falcata, Mya arenaria, and Crassostrea gigas from Oregon Coast watersheds to examine forestry-specific pesticide contamination. We used non-metric multidimensional scaling and regression to relate concentrations and types of pesticide contamination across watersheds to ownership and management metrics. In bivalve samples collected from eight coastal watersheds, we measured twelve unique pesticides (two herbicides; three fungicides; and seven insecticides). Pesticides were detected in 38% of bivalve samples; and frequency and maximum concentrations varied by season, species, and watershed with indaziflam (herbicide) the only current-use forestry pesticide detected. Using passive water samplers, we measured four current-use herbicides corresponding with planned herbicide applications; hexazinone and atrazine were most frequently detected. Details about types and levels of exposure provide insight into effectiveness of current forest management practices in controlling transport of forest-use pesticides. Full article
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Article
Salinity Changes the Dynamics of Pyrethroid Toxicity in Terms of Behavioral Effects on Newly Hatched Delta Smelt Larvae
Toxics 2021, 9(2), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics9020040 - 20 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1130
Abstract
Salinity can interact with organic compounds and modulate their toxicity. Studies have shown that the fraction of pyrethroid insecticides in the aqueous phase increases with increasing salinity, potentially increasing the risk of exposure for aquatic organisms at higher salinities. In the San Francisco [...] Read more.
Salinity can interact with organic compounds and modulate their toxicity. Studies have shown that the fraction of pyrethroid insecticides in the aqueous phase increases with increasing salinity, potentially increasing the risk of exposure for aquatic organisms at higher salinities. In the San Francisco Bay Delta (SFBD) estuary, pyrethroid concentrations increase during the rainy season, coinciding with the spawning season of Delta Smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus), an endangered, endemic fish. Furthermore, salinity intrusion in the SFBD is exacerbated by global climate change, which may change the dynamics of pyrethroid toxicity on aquatic animals. Therefore, examining the effect of salinity on the sublethal toxicity of pyrethroids is essential for risk assessments, especially during the early life stages of estuarine fishes. To address this, we investigated behavioral effects of permethrin and bifenthrin at three environmentally relevant concentrations across a salinity gradient (0.5, 2 and 6 PSU) on Delta Smelt yolk-sac larvae. Our results suggest that environmentally relevant concentrations of pyrethroids can perturb Delta Smelt larvae behavior even at the lowest concentrations (<1 ng/L) and that salinity can change the dynamic of pyrethroid toxicity in terms of behavioral effects, especially for bifenthrin, where salinity was positively correlated with anti-thigmotaxis at each concentration. Full article
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Article
An Integrated Vegetated Treatment System for Mitigating Imidacloprid and Permethrin in Agricultural Irrigation Runoff
Toxics 2021, 9(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics9010007 - 09 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 791
Abstract
Pyrethroid and neonicotinoid pesticides control an array of insect pests in leafy greens, but there are concerns about the off-site movement and potential water quality impacts of these chemicals. Effective on-farm management practices can eliminate aquatic toxicity and pesticides in runoff. This project [...] Read more.
Pyrethroid and neonicotinoid pesticides control an array of insect pests in leafy greens, but there are concerns about the off-site movement and potential water quality impacts of these chemicals. Effective on-farm management practices can eliminate aquatic toxicity and pesticides in runoff. This project evaluated an integrated vegetated treatment system (VTS), including the use of polyacrylamide (PAM), for minimizing the toxicity of imidacloprid and permethrin pesticides in runoff. The VTS incorporated a sediment trap to remove coarse particles, a grass-lined ditch with compost swales to remove suspended sediment and insecticides, and granulated activated carbon (GAC) or biochar to remove residual insecticides. Runoff was sampled throughout the VTS and analyzed for pesticide concentrations, and aquatic toxicity using the midge Chironomusdilutus and the amphipod Hyalella azteca. In simulated runoff experiments, the VTS reduced suspended sediment load by 88%, and imidacloprid and permethrin load by 97% and 99%, respectively. In runoff events from a conventionally grown lettuce field, suspended sediment load was reduced by 98%, and insecticide load by 99%. Toxicity was significantly reduced in approximately half of the simulated runoff events, and most of the lettuce runoff events. Integrated vegetated treatment systems that include components for treating soluble and hydrophobic pesticides are vital tools for reducing pesticide load and occurrence of pesticide-related toxicity. Full article
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Article
Chironomus riparius Proteome Responses to Spinosad Exposure
Toxics 2020, 8(4), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics8040117 - 11 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 800
Abstract
The potential of proteome responses as early-warning indicators of insecticide exposure was evaluated using the non-biting midge Chironomus riparius (Meigen) as the model organism. Chironomus riparius larvae were exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations of the neurotoxic pesticide spinosad to uncover molecular events that [...] Read more.
The potential of proteome responses as early-warning indicators of insecticide exposure was evaluated using the non-biting midge Chironomus riparius (Meigen) as the model organism. Chironomus riparius larvae were exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations of the neurotoxic pesticide spinosad to uncover molecular events that may provide insights on the long-term individual and population level consequences. The iTRAQ labeling method was performed to quantify protein abundance changes between exposed and non-exposed organisms. Data analysis revealed a general dose-dependent decrease in the abundance of globin proteins as a result of spinosad exposure. Additionally, the downregulation of actin and a larval cuticle protein was also observed after spinosad exposure, which may be related to previously determined C. riparius life-history traits impairment and biochemical responses. Present results suggest that protein profile changes can be used as early warning biomarkers of pesticide exposure and may provide a better mechanistic interpretation of the toxic response of organisms, aiding in the assessment of the ecological effects of environmental contamination. This work also contributes to the understanding of the sublethal effects of insecticides in invertebrates and their molecular targets. Full article
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Article
Morpho-Functional Alterations in the Gills of a Seawater Teleost, the Ornate Wrasse (Thalassoma pavo L.), after Short-Term Exposure to Chlorpyrifos
Toxics 2020, 8(4), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics8040097 - 07 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 739
Abstract
Chlorpyrifos (CPF) is an organophosphorus insecticide commonly used for domestic and agricultural purposes. The risk posed by environmental contamination from CPF is well acknowledged, and it has been detected worldwide in aquatic habitats and coastal areas. In addition, due to its slower degradation [...] Read more.
Chlorpyrifos (CPF) is an organophosphorus insecticide commonly used for domestic and agricultural purposes. The risk posed by environmental contamination from CPF is well acknowledged, and it has been detected worldwide in aquatic habitats and coastal areas. In addition, due to its slower degradation in seawater compared to freshwater, CPF is of particular concern for marine environments. Here, we investigated for the first time the morpho-functional alterations induced by CPF on the gills of Thalassoma pavo, a widespread species in the Mediterranean Sea. We tested the effects of two sublethal concentrations (4 and 8 µg/L) after 48 and 96 h. Our study demonstrates that the alterations induced by CPF are dose and time-dependent and highlight the harmful properties of this insecticide. After exposure to the low tested concentration, the more frequent alteration is an intense proliferation of the primary epithelium, whereas after exposure to the high concentration, the primary epithelium proliferation is less extensive, and the most evident effects are the thinning of secondary lamellae and the ectopia of chloride and goblet cells. CPF also modulated the expression of Na+/K+-ATPase. Dilation of lamellar apical tips, pillar cell degeneration, and appearance of aneurysms are often observed. Full article
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Review

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Review
Impacts of Neonicotinoids on Molluscs: What We Know and What We Need to Know
Toxics 2021, 9(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics9020021 - 22 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1715
Abstract
The broad utilisation of neonicotinoids in agriculture has led to the unplanned contamination of adjacent terrestrial and aquatic systems around the world. Environmental monitoring regularly detects neonicotinoids at concentrations that may cause negative impacts on molluscs. The toxicity of neonicotinoids to some non-target [...] Read more.
The broad utilisation of neonicotinoids in agriculture has led to the unplanned contamination of adjacent terrestrial and aquatic systems around the world. Environmental monitoring regularly detects neonicotinoids at concentrations that may cause negative impacts on molluscs. The toxicity of neonicotinoids to some non-target invertebrates has been established; however, information on mollusc species is limited. Molluscs are likely to be exposed to various concentrations of neonicotinoids in the soil, food and water, which could increase their vulnerability to other sources of mortality and cause accidental exposure of other organisms higher in the food chain. This review examines the impacts of various concentrations of neonicotinoids on molluscs, including behavioural, physiological and biochemical responses. The review also identifies knowledge gaps and provides recommendations for future studies, to ensure a more comprehensive understanding of impacts from neonicotinoid exposure to molluscs. Full article
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