Article

Ecotoxicology

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 251-262

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Clone- and age-dependent toxicity of a glyphosate commercial formulation and its active ingredient in Daphnia magna

  • Marek CuhraAffiliated withGenØk, Centre for Biosafety, The Science ParkFaculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø Email author 
  • , Terje TraavikAffiliated withGenØk, Centre for Biosafety, The Science ParkFaculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø
  • , Thomas BøhnAffiliated withGenØk, Centre for Biosafety, The Science ParkFaculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø

Abstract

Low levels of glyphosate based herbicide induced significant negative effects on the aquatic invertebrate Daphnia magna. Glyphosate herbicides such as brands of Roundup, are known to be toxic to daphnids. However, published findings on acute toxicity show significant discrepancies and variation across several orders of magnitude. To test the acute effects of both glyphosate and a commercial formulation of Roundup (hereafter Roundup), we conducted a series of exposure experiments with different clones and age-classes of D. magna. The results demonstrated EC50 (48) values in the low ppm-range for Roundup as well as for the active ingredient (a.i.) isopropylamine salt of glyphosate (glyphosate IPA) alone. Roundup showed slightly lower acute toxicity than glyphosate IPA alone, i.e. EC50 values of 3.7–10.6 mg a.i./l, as compared to 1.4–7.2 mg a.i./l for glyphosate IPA. However, in chronic toxicity tests spanning the whole life-cycle, Roundup was more toxic. D. magna was exposed to sublethal nominal concentrations of 0.05, 0.15, 0.45, 1.35 and 4.05 mg a.i./l for 55 days. Significant reduction of juvenile size was observed even in the lowest test concentrations of 0.05 mg a.i./l, for both glyphosate and Roundup. At 0.45 mg a.i./l, growth, fecundity and abortion rate was affected, but only in animals exposed to Roundup. At 1.35 and 4.05 mg a.i./l of both glyphosate and Roundup, significant negative effects were seen on most tested parameters, including mortality. D. magna was adversely affected by a near 100 % abortion rate of eggs and embryonic stages at 1.35 mg a.i./l of Roundup. The results indicate that aquatic invertebrate ecology can be adversely affected by relevant ambient concentrations of this major herbicide. We conclude that glyphosate and Roundup toxicity to aquatic invertebrates have been underestimated and that current European Commission and US EPA toxicity classification of these chemicals need to be revised.

Keywords

Cladocera Glyphosate Roundup Aquatic Chronic toxicity Toxicology