Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Insecticides lead to starvation of aquatic organisms

Date:
May 15, 2013
Source:
EAWAG: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
Summary:
Neonicotinoid insecticides have adverse effects not only on bees but also on freshwater invertebrates. Exposure to low but constant concentrations of these substances – which are highly soluble in water – has lethal effects on these aquatic organisms.

Gammaruspule and a leaf 'skeleton.'
Credit: Image courtesy of EAWAG: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology

Neonicotinoid insecticides have adverse effects not only on bees but also on freshwater invertebrates. Exposure to low but constant concentrations of these substances -- which are highly soluble in water -- has lethal effects on these aquatic organisms.

At the end of April, the EU imposed a 2-year ban on the use of neurotoxic agents belonging to the neonicotinoid group. In Switzerland, the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) has followed suit, suspending the authorizations of three insecticides used on oilseed rape and maize fields. These measures have been taken in response to evidence that neonicotinoids are toxic to honeybees and are contributing to the decline of bee colonies.

Problems seen with constant exposure

An Eawag study published today in the journal PLOS ONE (Public Library of Science) now shows that at least one of the insecticides in this class also has toxic effects on freshwater invertebrates. In this study, native freshwater shrimps (gammarids) were exposed to pulsed high and to constant low concentrations of imidacloprid. Peak concentrations typically occur when rain falls on farmland during or shortly after the application of insecticides; these soluble but persistent substances can then enter surface waters via runoff. Interestingly, pulses lasting no more than a day proved less harmful to the organisms than concentrations that were much lower but persisted for several days or weeks. While organisms transferred to clean water after pulsed exposure recovered relatively rapidly, constant exposure led to starvation after 2 to 3 weeks. This was because the organisms' mobility and feeding behaviour was impaired by the neurotoxin.

Failure of conventional toxicity testing

The slow starvation effect observed under constant exposure to low levels of neonicotinoids is not detected by conventional toxicity tests, as they are not carried out over a period of several weeks. In addition, the study indicated that seasonal and environmental factors can be crucial: the results of the experiments are significantly affected by organisms' initial fitness and lipid reserves. To eliminate these effects and to identify processes other than starvation that influence survival rates in aquatic organisms, the research team has also developed a mathematical model which makes it possible to predict harmful concentrations and exposure times.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by EAWAG: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anna-Maija Nyman, Anita Hintermeister, Kristin Schirmer, Roman Ashauer. The Insecticide Imidacloprid Causes Mortality of the Freshwater Amphipod Gammarus pulex by Interfering with Feeding Behavior. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (5): e62472 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062472

Cite This Page:

EAWAG: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. "Insecticides lead to starvation of aquatic organisms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130515203015.htm>.
EAWAG: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. (2013, May 15). Insecticides lead to starvation of aquatic organisms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130515203015.htm
EAWAG: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. "Insecticides lead to starvation of aquatic organisms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130515203015.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pakistan's 'killer Mountain' Fails to Draw Tourists After Attack

Pakistan's 'killer Mountain' Fails to Draw Tourists After Attack

AFP (Sep. 12, 2014) In June 2013, 10 foreign mountaineers and their guide were murdered on Nanga Parbat, an iconic peak that stands at 8,126m tall in northern Pakisan. Duration: 02:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solar Storm To Hit This Weekend, Scientists Not Worried

Solar Storm To Hit This Weekend, Scientists Not Worried

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) Two solar flares which erupted in our direction this week will arrive this weekend. The resulting solar storm will be powerful but not dangerous. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Ozone Layer Is Recovering, But It's Not All Good News

The Ozone Layer Is Recovering, But It's Not All Good News

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) The Ozone layer is recovering thickness! Hooray! But in helping its recovery, we may have also helped put more greenhouse gases out there. Hooray? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins