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Title: Avoidance behavior of earthworms under exposure to pesticides: is it always chemosensorial?
Author: Pereira, Joana L.
Antunes, Sara C.
Ferreira, Ana C.
Gonçalves, Fernando
Pereira, Ruth
Keywords: Earthworms
Eisenia andrei
Avoidance behavior
AChE inhibition
Issue Date: Apr-2010
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Abstract: Soil avoidance by earthworms has been generally considered a relevant and sensitive endpoint for assessing soil contamination by xenobiotics. However, when pesticide ecotoxicological assessment is concerned, the sensitivity of the recently standardized avoidance assay has been questioned. We hypothesized that this controversy may be due to the specific pesticide mode of action of the chemicals used rather than reveal inconsistencies in the test feasibility, i.e. provided that no pesticides interfering with neuronal pathways are tested, this bioassay should keep expected high levels of sensitivity. In this study, the avoidance behaviour of the earthworm Eisenia andrei under exposure to the carbamate insecticide methomyl [S-methyl N-(methylcarbamoyloxy)thioacetimidate] was linked to the corresponding acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibition. Significant AChE inhibition occurred at lower concentrations (from 0.86 mg Kg(-1) onwards) than significant avoidance of spiked soil (from 5.62 mg Kg(-1) onwards). This indicates that assessments regarding pesticides that have neurotoxic activity may be biased if behavioral endpoints are selected. Despite theoretical hypothesis that have been raised, this should be the first study providing preliminary experimental evidence on such a link between avoidance behavior and neuronal impairment levels in earthworms. Further studies are ongoing that should refine conclusions of this study.
Peer review: yes
DOI: 10.1080/03601231003613625
ISSN: 0360-1234
Appears in Collections:CESAM - Artigos
DBio - Artigos

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