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Glyphosate-based herbicides reduce the activity and reproduction of earthworms and lead to increased soil nutrient concentrations.

Gaupp-Berghausen M, Hofer M, Rewald B, Zaller JG - Sci Rep (2015)

Bottom Line: However, our knowledge of potential side-effects on non-target soil organisms, even on such eminent ones as earthworms, is still very scarce.Reproduction of the soil dwellers was reduced by 56% within three months after herbicide application.These sizeable herbicide-induced impacts on agroecosystems are particularly worrisome because these herbicides have been globally used for decades.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Zoology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Gregor Mendel Straße 33, A-1180 Vienna, Austria.

ABSTRACT
Herbicide use is increasing worldwide both in agriculture and private gardens. However, our knowledge of potential side-effects on non-target soil organisms, even on such eminent ones as earthworms, is still very scarce. In a greenhouse experiment, we assessed the impact of the most widely used glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup on two earthworm species with different feeding strategies. We demonstrate, that the surface casting activity of vertically burrowing earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris) almost ceased three weeks after herbicide application, while the activity of soil dwelling earthworms (Aporrectodea caliginosa) was not affected. Reproduction of the soil dwellers was reduced by 56% within three months after herbicide application. Herbicide application led to increased soil concentrations of nitrate by 1592% and phosphate by 127%, pointing to potential risks for nutrient leaching into streams, lakes, or groundwater aquifers. These sizeable herbicide-induced impacts on agroecosystems are particularly worrisome because these herbicides have been globally used for decades.

No MeSH data available.


Percentage of cocoons with hatchlings of a vertically burrowing (L. terrestris, Lt) or a soil dwelling earthworm species (A. caliginosa, Ac) collected from mesocosms without (−H) and with (+H) herbicide application.(Lt: N = 1–2, Ac: N = 6, mean ± SE). Inset shows a cocoon with a freshly hatched L. terrestris.
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f3: Percentage of cocoons with hatchlings of a vertically burrowing (L. terrestris, Lt) or a soil dwelling earthworm species (A. caliginosa, Ac) collected from mesocosms without (−H) and with (+H) herbicide application.(Lt: N = 1–2, Ac: N = 6, mean ± SE). Inset shows a cocoon with a freshly hatched L. terrestris.

Mentions: Reproduction success of both earthworm species substantially decreased after herbicide application. In total we found 25 cocoons from L. terrestris (18 cocoons in two –H, 7 cocoons in one +H mesocosm) and 292 cocoons from A. caliginosa (193 cocoons in six –H, 99 cocoons in six +H mesocosms). Hatching rate, i.e., percentage of cocoons from which earthworms hatched, decreased from 43% to 17% for L. terrestris (no statistical test was performed because of two few replications among treatments) and from 71% to 32% for A. caliginosa (P < 0.001) when cocoons were collected in mesocosms without herbicide or with herbicide treatment, respectively (Fig. 3). In ecotoxicological trials in the laboratory without plants glyphosate herbicide has also been shown to decrease the growth of A. caliginosa3132 and reproductive output of compost worms (E. andrei and E. fetida)2122. However, to our knowledge, the current data are the first to demonstrate in a near-realistic setting side effects of glyphosate-based herbicides on the surface casting activity and reproduction of earthworm species that actually inhabit agroecosystems and will consequently come in contact with these pesticides.


Glyphosate-based herbicides reduce the activity and reproduction of earthworms and lead to increased soil nutrient concentrations.

Gaupp-Berghausen M, Hofer M, Rewald B, Zaller JG - Sci Rep (2015)

Percentage of cocoons with hatchlings of a vertically burrowing (L. terrestris, Lt) or a soil dwelling earthworm species (A. caliginosa, Ac) collected from mesocosms without (−H) and with (+H) herbicide application.(Lt: N = 1–2, Ac: N = 6, mean ± SE). Inset shows a cocoon with a freshly hatched L. terrestris.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4542661&req=5

f3: Percentage of cocoons with hatchlings of a vertically burrowing (L. terrestris, Lt) or a soil dwelling earthworm species (A. caliginosa, Ac) collected from mesocosms without (−H) and with (+H) herbicide application.(Lt: N = 1–2, Ac: N = 6, mean ± SE). Inset shows a cocoon with a freshly hatched L. terrestris.
Mentions: Reproduction success of both earthworm species substantially decreased after herbicide application. In total we found 25 cocoons from L. terrestris (18 cocoons in two –H, 7 cocoons in one +H mesocosm) and 292 cocoons from A. caliginosa (193 cocoons in six –H, 99 cocoons in six +H mesocosms). Hatching rate, i.e., percentage of cocoons from which earthworms hatched, decreased from 43% to 17% for L. terrestris (no statistical test was performed because of two few replications among treatments) and from 71% to 32% for A. caliginosa (P < 0.001) when cocoons were collected in mesocosms without herbicide or with herbicide treatment, respectively (Fig. 3). In ecotoxicological trials in the laboratory without plants glyphosate herbicide has also been shown to decrease the growth of A. caliginosa3132 and reproductive output of compost worms (E. andrei and E. fetida)2122. However, to our knowledge, the current data are the first to demonstrate in a near-realistic setting side effects of glyphosate-based herbicides on the surface casting activity and reproduction of earthworm species that actually inhabit agroecosystems and will consequently come in contact with these pesticides.

Bottom Line: However, our knowledge of potential side-effects on non-target soil organisms, even on such eminent ones as earthworms, is still very scarce.Reproduction of the soil dwellers was reduced by 56% within three months after herbicide application.These sizeable herbicide-induced impacts on agroecosystems are particularly worrisome because these herbicides have been globally used for decades.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Zoology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Gregor Mendel Straße 33, A-1180 Vienna, Austria.

ABSTRACT
Herbicide use is increasing worldwide both in agriculture and private gardens. However, our knowledge of potential side-effects on non-target soil organisms, even on such eminent ones as earthworms, is still very scarce. In a greenhouse experiment, we assessed the impact of the most widely used glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup on two earthworm species with different feeding strategies. We demonstrate, that the surface casting activity of vertically burrowing earthworms (Lumbricus terrestris) almost ceased three weeks after herbicide application, while the activity of soil dwelling earthworms (Aporrectodea caliginosa) was not affected. Reproduction of the soil dwellers was reduced by 56% within three months after herbicide application. Herbicide application led to increased soil concentrations of nitrate by 1592% and phosphate by 127%, pointing to potential risks for nutrient leaching into streams, lakes, or groundwater aquifers. These sizeable herbicide-induced impacts on agroecosystems are particularly worrisome because these herbicides have been globally used for decades.

No MeSH data available.