Standard laboratory tests to evaluate the effects of stressors (in most cases chemicals) on soil organisms offer a good compromise between feasibility and outcome, i.e. they should be reproducible and provide robust results. However, these tests may underestimate potential effects of prolonged exposures, particularly for persistent contaminants. In the last years, there was an increase in studies using prolonged exposures, including full life-cycle and multigenerational testing. Test designs varied widely among studies, and both reduced and increased effects were observed. Multigenerational testing is highly relevant to better describe long-term effects and deserves more consideration at various assessment levels. A literature review was performed focusing on studies with soil invertebrates exposed to stressors for periods longer than in standard laboratory tests, including full life-cycle and multigenerational testing. Based on the currently available test results from such tests, it is recommended to implement longer-term tests in existing regulatory testing requirements (e.g. for pesticides), in particular for persistent substances and also for delayed effects. Such prolonged exposure test designs could be included (e.g. as annexes) in current OECD and ISO guidelines.
For further information, see the publication in Science of the Total Environment:
Guimarães, B., Römbke, J., Amorim, M.J.B. (2023). On the importance of longer-term exposure to stressors – a critical review and proposal for multigenerational testing in standard soil invertebrates. Science of the Total Environment 854:158680.
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