Fungicide mixtures cause reduced growth and embryo numbers in amphipod

By Hung Vu, Michal keough, Sara Long and Vincent Pettigrove.

Austrochiltonia subtenuis

Toxicological effects of fungicide mixtures on the amphipod Austrochiltonia subtenuis

This article was published online in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry on 28th March 2017. For more information please contact Vincent Pettigrove vpet@unimelb.edu.au.

Abstract

Approaches to assess the toxicity of mixtures often use predictive models with acute mortality as an endpoint at relatively high concentrations. However, these approaches do not reflect realistic situations where organisms could be exposed to chemical mixtures over long periods at low concentrations at which no significant mortalities occur. The present study investigated chronic effects of 2 common fungicides, Filan® (active ingredient [a.i]) boscalid) and Systhane™ (a.i. myclobutanil), on the amphipod Austrochiltonia subtenuis at environmentally relevant concentrations under laboratory conditions. Sexually mature amphipods were exposed singly and in combination to Filan (1, 10, and 40 μg a.i./L) and Systhane (3 μg a.i./L) over 28 d. Survival, growth, a wide range of reproduction endpoints, and glutathione-S-transferase (GST) activity were measured at the end of the experiment. Both fungicides had significant independent effects on male growth, sex ratio, and juvenile size. Filan mainly affected female growth and the number of embryos per gravid female, whereas Systhane mainly affected the time for females to become gravid. The combined effects of these fungicides on numbers of gravid females and juveniles were antagonistic, causing a 61% reduction in the number of gravid females and a 77% reduction in the number of juveniles produced at the highest concentrations (40 μg a.i./L of boscalid and 3 μg a.i./L of myclobutanil) compared with the controls. There were no significant effects on survival or GST activity. The present study demonstrated that the effects of mixtures were endpoint dependent and that using a variety of endpoints should be considered for a comprehensive understanding of mixture effects. Also, chronic studies are more informative than acute studies for environmentally relevant fungicide concentrations.