Date: 07 Jul 2012

Single Versus Combined Lethal Effects of Three Agricultural Insecticides on Larvae of the Freshwater Insect Chironomus dilutus

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Pesticides are currently regulated individually but are present in aquatic systems as mixtures of toxicants. In this study, the lethal effects of three agricultural insecticides—chlorpyrifos, imidacloprid and dimethoate—on Chironomus dilutus larvae were examined. Ninety-six–hour static bioassays were performed using single, binary, and ternary toxicant mixtures. The effects of the binary mixtures were investigated using the MIXTOX model to determine if the mixtures behaved additively, synergistically, or antagonistically. Dimethoate was much less toxic than chlorpyrifos or imidacloprid. Chlorpyrifos and dimethoate were not additive in mixture despite their common mode of action (MOA) and resulted in opposing effects (synergism and antagonism, respectively) when combined with imidacloprid. Synergism was observed in the ternary mixture. These results suggest that current mixture models based on MOA alone may not always be adequate in describing mixture effects, as in the current situation of mixtures with relatively few components. Other factors, such as water solubility, secondary MOA, and mechanisms of toxicity, should also be considered in future investigations of multichemical-mixture effects.