Date: 30 Jan 2006

Toxic Effects of Irgarol and Diuron on Sea Urchin Paracentrotus lividus Early Development, Fertilization, and Offspring Quality

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Abstract

Irgarol and Diuron are the most representative “organic booster biocides” that replaced organotin compounds in antifouling paints. It cannot be assumed beforehand that their use will have no environmental impact: more ecotoxicological data and a significant environmental monitoring are required. Spermio and embryotoxicities of the biocides Irgarol and Diuron were investigated on Paracentrotus lividus, the dominant echinoid species of the Mediterranean Sea. Spermiotoxicity was studied by assessing the effects of sperm exposure on fertilization rate as well as on the induction of transmissible damages to the offspring. Embryotoxicity was studied by assessing the developmental defects in the exposed larvae. The experimental results show a Diuron EC50 of 2.39 (± 0.21) mg/L with a NOEL of 0.25 mg/L for embryos, and of 5.09 (± 0.45) mg/L with a NOEL of 0.5 mg/L for sperms, respectively. Data obtained from the embryotoxicity test on Irgarol [EC50 0.99 (± 0.69) mg/L] are of the same order of magnitude as the literature data about Japanese urchins. Spermiotoxicity tests show an Irgarol EC50 of 9.04 (± 0.45) mg/L with a NOEL of 0.1 mg/L. These data show the different sensitivities of the two tests: embryos are more sensitive than sperms for both the tested chemicals and Diuron seems to be the less toxic one. Moreover, as a major output of the experimental work, tested herbicides exert transmissible damage to spermatozoa evidenced by larval malformations in the offspring, mainly P1 type (skeletal alterations). The comparison of the endpoints results offers an interesting indication of a probable different mode of action (Irgarol seems to interact with calcium homeostasis) of the two biocides.