Research on potential side-effects of pesticides on beneficial organisms has focused on temperate test species and conditions. Thus, there is a need for ecotoxicity studies for pesticides under tropical conditions. The present study aimed to compare the acute and chronic toxicity of the fungicide carbendazim to the earthworm Eisenia fetida under tropical and temperate conditions. To this end, laboratory toxicity tests were conducted with a tropical and European strain of E. fetida, using different artificial and natural soils, and different test temperatures (20°C and 28°C). In the acute tests with artificial soils, the tropical strain of E. fetida was three to four order of magnitude less sensitive than the European strain, probably due to the higher test temperature and, hence, higher microbial activity and pesticide degradation. The tropical strain was particularly sensitive in the tropical natural soil, which was attributed to the low pH (3.9) of this soil. The chronic toxicity tests also showed a lower sensitivity of the tropical strain. These findings support the use of toxicity data generated under temperate conditions in tropical pesticide effect assessments. However, due to the intensive agricultural practices in the tropics, exposure and thus risks may be higher.
For further information, see the publication in Chemosphere:
Daam, M.A., Garcia, M.V., Scheffczyk, A., Römbke, J. (2020). Acute and chronic toxicity of the fungicide carbendazim to the earthworm Eisenia fetida under tropical versus temperate laboratory conditions. Chemosphere 255:126871.
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