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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.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Soil parameters affected by herbicide application (–H, without herbicide; +H, with herbicide application) in response to the presence of different earthworms (NoEw, no earthworms; Lt, L. terrestris; Ac, A. caliginosa).(A) Plant available nitrate (NO3−), (B) plant available phosphate (PO43−), (C) soil stabilisation factor, and (D) water infiltration rate. (N = 6, mean ± SE).
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f4: Soil parameters affected by herbicide application (–H, without herbicide; +H, with herbicide application) in response to the presence of different earthworms (NoEw, no earthworms; Lt, L. terrestris; Ac, A. caliginosa).(A) Plant available nitrate (NO3−), (B) plant available phosphate (PO43−), (C) soil stabilisation factor, and (D) water infiltration rate. (N = 6, mean ± SE).

Mentions: Parameters indicating important ecosystems services were also affected by herbicide treatment. After herbicide application, all plants in our mesocosms were killed within a couple of days. As a consequence plant available nitrate in the soil increased by 1592% and plant available phosphate by 127% (Fig. 4A,B), probably attributable to a decrease in nitrate and phosphate uptake by plants33. While, no effect of glyphosate herbicides on soil decomposition rate was found, as in previous studies21, the herbicide application tended to increase the stabilization factor of litter in soil suggesting a conversion from labile into more recalcitrant compounds (Fig. 4C; 26). Herbicide application had no immediate effect on water infiltration after a simulated heavy rainfall event of 40 l m−2 (Fig. 4D). This was surprising as particularly vertically burrowing earthworms species such as L. terrestris are known to facilitate water infiltration1434. However, the soil dwelling A. caliginosa that were less affected by herbicides in our study increased water infiltration (Fig. 4D, Table 1). These soil dwelling earthworms create short disconnected burrows with small diameters35 and have also been found to increase water infiltration rates in other studies1436.


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)

Soil parameters affected by herbicide application (–H, without herbicide; +H, with herbicide application) in response to the presence of different earthworms (NoEw, no earthworms; Lt, L. terrestris; Ac, A. caliginosa).(A) Plant available nitrate (NO3−), (B) plant available phosphate (PO43−), (C) soil stabilisation factor, and (D) water infiltration rate. (N = 6, mean ± SE).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

f4: Soil parameters affected by herbicide application (–H, without herbicide; +H, with herbicide application) in response to the presence of different earthworms (NoEw, no earthworms; Lt, L. terrestris; Ac, A. caliginosa).(A) Plant available nitrate (NO3−), (B) plant available phosphate (PO43−), (C) soil stabilisation factor, and (D) water infiltration rate. (N = 6, mean ± SE).
Mentions: Parameters indicating important ecosystems services were also affected by herbicide treatment. After herbicide application, all plants in our mesocosms were killed within a couple of days. As a consequence plant available nitrate in the soil increased by 1592% and plant available phosphate by 127% (Fig. 4A,B), probably attributable to a decrease in nitrate and phosphate uptake by plants33. While, no effect of glyphosate herbicides on soil decomposition rate was found, as in previous studies21, the herbicide application tended to increase the stabilization factor of litter in soil suggesting a conversion from labile into more recalcitrant compounds (Fig. 4C; 26). Herbicide application had no immediate effect on water infiltration after a simulated heavy rainfall event of 40 l m−2 (Fig. 4D). This was surprising as particularly vertically burrowing earthworms species such as L. terrestris are known to facilitate water infiltration1434. However, the soil dwelling A. caliginosa that were less affected by herbicides in our study increased water infiltration (Fig. 4D, Table 1). These soil dwelling earthworms create short disconnected burrows with small diameters35 and have also been found to increase water infiltration rates in other studies1436.

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.


Related in: MedlinePlus