Steinbeis Transfer Center for Ecotoxicology and Ecophysiology

Rottenburg, Germany

Steinbeis Transfer Center for Ecotoxicology and Ecophysiology

Rottenburg, Germany

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Dittbrenner N.,University of Tübingen | Schmitt H.,University of Tübingen | Capowiez Y.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Triebskorn R.,University of Tübingen | Triebskorn R.,Steinbeis Transfer Center for Ecotoxicology and Ecophysiology
Journal of Soils and Sediments | Year: 2011

Purpose The use of only one or a few species-representing an entire taxon-in ecotoxicological standard tests poses risk of underestimating the impact of toxicants on the environment. In earthworm ecotoxicity tests, the species Eisenia fetida or Eisenia andrei are commonly used, and there is evidence that these species respond relatively insensitive towards environmental pollution. With the present study, we wanted to evaluate the risk of underestimating effects of the insecticide imidacloprid in soil organisms by comparing E. fetida with two other earthworm species (Aporrectodea caliginosa and Lumbricus terrestris) regarding their sensitivities towards soil contaminated with this widely used insecticide. Materials and methods In laboratory experiments, the specimens were individually exposed to various concentrations of the pesticide (0.2, 0.66, 2 and 4 mg kg-1 dry weight (DW)) for 1, 7 and 14 days. Afterwards, histopathological changes in the midgut, chloragogenous tissue and skin, as well as body mass changes, were assessed. Results and discussion While significant changes in body mass in E. fetida and A. caliginosa occurred after exposure to imidacloprid concentrations as low as 0.2 (7 days) and 0.66 mg kg-1 DW (14 days), significant body mass changes in L. terrestris observed to 2 and 4 mg kg-1 DW, for 7 and 14 days of exposure, respectively. The histopathological examinations revealed that significant cellular changes already occurred after 24 h exposure to the lowest test concentrations in all species, but the degree of detrimental effects as well as species-specific differences were dependent on the monitor tissue. In general, E. fetida seemed to be more sensitive than L. terrestris concerning cellular alterations, but the hierarchy in species-specific differences was less obvious than for body mass change. Conclusions Even if E. fetida proved to be the most sensitive species in this study, general differences in sensitivity make evident that always a range of species-being representatives of an animal taxon-in ecotoxicological tests should be tested in order to avoid underestimations of effects. In the case of testing only one species, an increase of safety factors should be considered. Since effects already occurred at environmentally relevant concentrations, the use of imidacloprid in agriculture might be of great concern. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.


Mazzia C.,University of Avignon | Capowiez Y.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Sanchez-Hernandez J.C.,University of Castilla - La Mancha | Kohler H.-R.,University of Tübingen | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Pollution | Year: 2011

Apple orchards are highly manipulated crops in which large amounts of pesticides are used. Some of these pesticides lack target specificity and can cause adverse effects in non-target organisms. In order to evaluate the environmental risk of these products, the use of transplanted sentinel organisms avoids side-effects from past events and facilitate comparison of multiple sites in a short time. We released specimens of the terrestrial snail Xeropicta derbentina in each 5 of two kinds of apple orchards with either conventional or organic management strategies plus in a single abandoned orchard. After one month, individuals were retrieved in order to measure acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity. Mean values of AChE activity were significantly reduced in all conventional apple orchards compared to the others. Results show that the measurement of biomarkers such as AChE inhibition in transplated X. derbentina could be useful in the environmental risk assessment of post-authorized pesticides. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Dittbrenner N.,University of Tübingen | Capowiez Y.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Kohler H.-R.,University of Tübingen | Triebskorn R.,University of Tübingen | Triebskorn R.,Steinbeis Transfer Center for Ecotoxicology and Ecophysiology
Journal of Soils and Sediments | Year: 2012

Purpose: The earthworm species Eisenia fetida and Eisenia andrei are commonly used in ecotoxicological standard tests. In the present study, we compared the sensitivity of E. fetida with that of two soil-dwelling earthworm species (Aporrectodea caliginosa and Lumbricus terrestris) in order to evaluate the capacity of E. fetida to predict effects of the insecticide imidacloprid. Responses were compared using two endpoints, a biochemical (changes in heat shock protein level (hsp70)) and a behavioural (avoidance behaviour). Materials and methods: For the hsp70 analysis, the earthworms were exposed for 1, 7 and 14 days and the avoidance tests were conducted using a 48-h incubation time. The tested imidacloprid concentrations ranged from 0.2 to 4 mg kg-1 soil dry weight (DW). Results and discussion: E. fetida showed significant avoidance behaviour towards all test concentrations (0.2, 0.66 and 2 mg kg-1 DW), while L. terrestris and A. caliginosa did not avoid imidacloprid-contaminated soil. Significant changes in hsp70 level in E. fetida occurred at the lowest concentration (0.2 mg kg-1 DW and 14 days), while no effects were observed until exposure to 2 (A. caliginosa; after 1, 7 and 14 days) and 4 mg kg-1 DW (L. terrestris; after 14 days). The present study revealed species-specific differences in sensitivity with E. fetida being the most sensitive species and L. terrestris the least sensitive. Moreover, some of the observed effects were detected at environmentally relevant concentrations. Conclusions: Our study indicated different sensitivities between closely related species highlighting the importance of using a multiple selection of species in ecotoxicology to predict harmful environmental effects more accurately and minimise underestimations. In the case of testing only one species or one trophic level, a further increase of safety factors is advisable. Moreover, it can be concluded that hsp70 was not a good indicator of imidacloprid toxicity given the low induction for the selected test species. The results of the present study highlight the species dependency of the avoidance test in case of imidacloprid. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.


Dittbrenner N.,University of Tübingen | Moser I.,University of Tübingen | Triebskorn R.,University of Tübingen | Triebskorn R.,Steinbeis Transfer Center for Ecotoxicology and Ecophysiology | Capowiez Y.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research
Chemosphere | Year: 2011

Adverse effects of agrochemicals on earthworms' burrowing behaviour can have crucial impacts on the entire ecosystem. In the present study, we have therefore assessed short- and long-term effects on burrowing behaviour in the earthworm species Aporrectodea caliginosa and Lumbricus terrestris after exposure to a range of imidacloprid concentrations (0.2-4mgkg -1 dry weight (DW)) for different exposure times (1, 7, 14d). 2D-terraria were used for the examination of post-exposure short-term effects (24-96h), while post-exposure long-term effects were assessed by means of X-ray burrow reconstruction in three dimensional soil cores (6weeks). For the latter each core was incubated with two specimens of L. terrestris and four of A. calignosa. Short-term effects on the burrowing behaviour (2D) of A. caliginosa were already detected at the lowest test concentration (0.2mgkg -1 DW), whereas such effects in L. terrestris were not observed until exposure to concentrations 10 times higher (2mgkg -1 DW). For both species tested in the 2D-terraria, " total burrow length after 24h" and " maximal burrow depth after 24h" were the most sensitive endpoints. 3D reconstructions of the burrow systems made by both earthworm species in the repacked soil cores revealed a significant linear decrease in burrow volume with increasing imidacloprid concentration.Since many of the observed effects occurred at imidacloprid concentrations relevant to natural conditions and since reduced activities of earthworms in soils can have crucial impacts on the ecosystem level, our results are of environmental concern. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Dittbrenner N.,University of Tübingen | Dittbrenner N.,Steinbeis Transfer Center for Ecotoxicology and Ecophysiology | Triebskorn R.,University of Tübingen | Moser I.,University of Tübingen | Capowiez Y.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research
Ecotoxicology | Year: 2010

Earthworms play key roles in soils and sublethal effects of environmental toxicants on these organisms should be taken seriously, since they might have detrimental effects on higher ecological levels. In laboratory experiments we have assessed sub-lethal effects (body mass change and cast production) of imidacloprid on two earthworm species commonly found in different agricultural soils (Lumbricus terrestris and Aporrectodea caliginosa). After 7 days of exposure in contaminated soil, a significant loss of body mass was found in both species exposed to imidacloprid concentrations as low as 0.66 mg kg-1 dry soil. These losses ranged from 18.3 to 39% for A. caliginosa and from 7.4 to 32.4% for L. terrestris, respectively. Changes in cast production, a new biomarker previously validated using L. terrestris, was assessed by soil sieving using the recommended mesh size (5.6 mm) for L. terrestris and three different mesh sizes for A. caliginosa (5.6, 4 and 3.15 mm). The 4 mm mesh size proved to be the most suitable sieve size for A. caliginosa. Cast production increased by 26.2% in A. caliginosa and by 28.1% in L. terrestris at the lowest imidacloprid concentration tested (0.2 mg kg-1 dry soil), but significantly decreased at higher concentrations (equal to and above 0.66 mg kg-1 dry soil) in both earthworm species after the 7 days exposure experiment. These decreases in cast production ranged from 44.5 to 96.9% in A. caliginosa and from 42.4 to 95.7% in L. terrestris. The EC50 for cast production were 0.84 (L. terrestris) and 0.76 mg kg-1 dry soil (A. caliginosa), respectively. The detected sub-lethal effects were found close to the predicted environmental concentration (PEC) of imidacloprid, which is in the range of 0.33-0.66 mg kg-1 dry soil. The biomarkers used in the present study, body mass change and changes in cast production, may be of ecological relevance and have shown high sensitivity for imidacloprid exposure of earthworms. The measurement of changes in cast production should be considered for inclusion in current standard tests.©Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010.


Maier D.,University of Tübingen | Blaha L.,Masaryk University | Giesy J.P.,University of Saskatchewan | Giesy J.P.,City University of Hong Kong | And 11 more authors.
Water Research | Year: 2015

Discharge of substances like pesticides, pharmaceuticals, flame retardants, and chelating agents in surface waters has increased over the last decades due to the rising numbers of chemicals used by humans and because many WWTPs do not eliminate these substances entirely. The study, results of which are presented here, focused on associations of (1) concentrations of micropollutants in wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents, surface waters, sediments, and tissues of fishes; (2) results of laboratory biotests indicating potentials for effects in these samples and (3) effects either in feral chub (Leuciscus cephalus) from two German rivers (Schussen, Argen) or in brown trout (Salmo trutta f. fario) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) exposed in bypass systems to streamwater of these rivers or in cages directly in the rivers. The Schussen and Argen Rivers flow into Lake Constance. The Schussen River is polluted by a great number of chemicals, while the Argen River is less influenced by micropollutants. Pesticides, chelating agents, flame retardants, pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were detected in effluents of a WWTP discharging to the Schussen as well as in surface water, and/or fishes from downstream of the WWTP. Results obtained by biotests conducted in the laboratory (genotoxicity, dioxin-like toxicity, and embryotoxicity) were linked to effects in feral fish collected in the vicinity of the WWTP or in fishes exposed in cages or at the bypass systems downstream of the WWTP. Dioxin-like effect potentials detected by reporter gene assays were associated with activation of CYP1A1 enzymes in fishes which are inducible by dioxin-like chemicals. Abundances of several PCBs in tissues of fishes from cages and bypass systems were not associated with these effects but other factors can influence EROD activity. Genotoxic potentials obtained by invitro tests were associated with the presence of micronuclei in erythrocytes of chub from the river. Chemicals potentially responsible for effects on DNA were identified. Embryotoxic effects on zebrafish (Danio rerio), investigated in the laboratory, were associated with embryotoxic effects in trout exposed in streamwater bypass systems at the two rivers. In general, responses at all levels of organization were more pronounced in samples from the Schussen than in those from the Argen. These results are consistent with the magnitudes of chemical pollution in these two streams. Plausibility chains to establish causality between exposures and effects and to predict effects in biota in the river from studies in the laboratory are discussed. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Osterauer R.,University of Tübingen | Kohler H.-R.,University of Tübingen | Triebskorn R.,University of Tübingen | Triebskorn R.,Steinbeis Transfer Center for Ecotoxicology and Ecophysiology
Aquatic Toxicology | Year: 2010

The platinum group metals (PGMs) platinum (Pt), palladium (Pd), and rhodium (Rh) are used in automobile catalytic converters, from which they have been emitted into the environment to an increasing degree during the last 20 years. Despite the bioavailability of these metals to plants and animals, studies determining the effects of PGMs on organisms are extremely rare. In the present study, effects of various concentrations of PtCl2 (0.1, 1, 10, 50 and 100μg/L) were investigated with respect to the induction of hsp70 and histopathological alterations in the zebrafish, Danio rerio and the ramshorn snail, Marisa cornuarietis. Histopathological investigations revealed effects of Pt on both species, which varied between slight and strong cellular reactions, depending on the PtCl2 concentration. The hsp70 level in M. cornuarietis did not show an increase following Pt exposure whereas it was significantly elevated at 100μg/L PtCl2 in D. rerio. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


Vincze K.,University of Tübingen | Scheil V.,University of Tübingen | Kuch B.,University of Stuttgart | Kohler H.R.,University of Tübingen | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research | Year: 2015

The present work describes a field survey aiming at assessing the impact of a sewage treatment plant (STP) effluent on fish health by means of biomarkers. Indigenous fish were absent downstream of the STP. To elucidate the reason behind this, brown trout (Salmo trutta f. fario) were exposed in floating steel cages up- and downstream of a STP located at the Neckar River near Tübingen (Southern Germany), for 10 and 30 days. A combination of biomarker methods (histopathological investigations, analysis of the stress protein Hsp70, micronucleus test, B-esterase assays) offered the possibility to investigate endocrine, geno-, proteo- and neurotoxic effects in fish organs. Biological results were complemented with chemical analyses on 20 accumulative substances in fish tissue. Even after short-term exposure, biomarkers revealed clear evidence of water contamination at both Neckar River sites; however, physiological responses of caged brown trout were more severe downstream of the STP. According to this, similar bioaccumulation levels (low μg/kg range) of DDE and 12 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were detected at both sampling sites, while up to fourfold higher concentrations of four PAHs, methyl-triclosan and two synthetic musks occurred in the tissues of downstream-exposed fish. The results obtained in this study suggest a constitutive background pollution at both sites investigated at the Neckar River and provided evidence for the additional negative impact of the STP Tübingen on water quality and the health condition of fish. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Scheil V.,University of Tübingen | Zurn A.,University of Tübingen | Kohler H.-R.,University of Tübingen | Triebskorn R.,University of Tübingen | Triebskorn R.,Steinbeis Transfer Center for Ecotoxicology and Ecophysiology
Environmental Toxicology | Year: 2010

Two different classes of chemicals were tested in a multilevel approach in this study: NiCl2 as a representative for heavy metals and chlorpyrifos, a pesticide. Both, the single substances and mixtures of them were investigated for their effects on embryonic development, histological alterations, and the stress protein (Hsp70) response in the zebrafish Danio rerio. Fishes were exposed from fertilization of eggs up to a maximum of 168 h post fertilization, depending on the investigated endpoint. NiCl2 led to effects in all tests which, however, were less severe at the histopathological level than in developmental (hatching success) and stress protein studies. Chlorpyrifos did not lead to developmental alterations but it was found to induce the Hsp70 response as well as histopathological damages. Mixtures of both substances resulted in similar results as the single substances; the results suggest an independent mode of action of these two substances and additivity of their effects. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Sawasdee B.,University of Tübingen | Kohler H.-R.,University of Tübingen | Triebskorn R.,University of Tübingen | Triebskorn R.,Steinbeis Transfer Center for Ecotoxicology and Ecophysiology
Chemosphere | Year: 2011

The aim of this study was to determine and quantify effects of copper and lithium in tissues of early juveniles of the ramshorn snail, Marisa cornuarietis. For this purpose, hatchlings of M. cornuarietis were exposed for 7days to a range of five different sublethal concentrations of copper (5, 10, 25, 50, and 75μgCu 2+L -1) and lithium (50, 100, 200, 1000, and 5000μgLi +L -1). Both metals changed the tissue structure of epidermis, hepatopancreas, and gills, varying between slight and strong reactions, depending on the copper and lithium concentration. The histopathological changes included alterations in epithelial and mucous cells of the epidermis, swelling of hepatopancreatic digestive cells, alterations in the number of basophilic cells, abnormal apices of digestive cells, irregularly shaped cilia and changes in the amount of mucus in the gills. The most sensible organ in M. cornuarietis indicating Cu or Li pollution is the hepatopancreas (LOECs were 10μgCu 2+L -1, or 200μgLi +L -1). In epidermis, mantle and gills relevant effects occurred with higher LOECs (50μgCu 2+L -1, or 1000μgLi +L -1). Base on LOECs, our results indicated that histopathological endpoints are high sensitivity to copper and lithium compared to endpoints for embryonic developmental toxicity. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

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