Nerve conduction velocity as a non-destructive biomarker in the earthworm Aporrectodea caliginosa exposed to insecticides

Abstract : Earthworms are important and useful soil organisms, but in agricultural soils, they are potentially exposed to a wide variety of pesticides. Insecticides represent the highest threat to earthworms and many are neurotoxic. There is a need for a reliable, relevant, simple biomarker to assess the sub-lethal effects of neurotoxic insecticides on earthworms under laboratory or field conditions. The Aporrectodea caliginosa earthworms were exposed to 0 (control), 0.5×, 1× (normal field application rate), and 5× concentrations of a carbamate (Pirimor®) and an organophosphate (Lorsban®) insecticides. The nerve conduction velocity (NCV) of the medial giant fibers of A. caliginosa earthworm was recorded on days 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7 to quantify sub-lethal neurotoxic effects. Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) enzyme activity of A. caliginosa homogenates was measured at the conclusion of the experiment. Pirimor® but not Lorsban® induced a significant decrease in NCV on days 3, 4, and 7 at 1× and 5× doses. A significant dose-dependent decrease was observed on AChE activity to Pirimor® at the doses used but not Lorsban®. A clear relationship is observed between AChE activity and NCV in the case of Pirimor®. This study showed that NCV is a sensitive biomarker that correlates well with classical biomarker measurements such as AChE enzyme activity. This technique could be used to study the impact of insecticides on earthworms and also their recovery.
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Christophe Mazzia, Kiran Munir, Martin Wellby, Magali Rault, Yvan Capowiez, et al.. Nerve conduction velocity as a non-destructive biomarker in the earthworm Aporrectodea caliginosa exposed to insecticides. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Springer Verlag, 2018, 25 (24), pp.24362-24367. ⟨10.1007/s11356-018-2469-1⟩. ⟨hal-02089692⟩

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