Does Grazing Pressure Modify Diuron Toxicity in a Biofilm Community?
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Herbicides affect the structure and functional parameters of fluvial biofilm. Diuron is toxic to primary producers and disrupts endocrine activity. Here, we studied the interaction between this toxicant and several biological compartments in a simple food chain composed of herbivores (the snail Physella [Costatella] acuta) and biofilm. We used indoor experimental channels to which Diuron was added at a realistic concentration (2 μg/L). Bacterial survival and chlorophyll-a and photosynthetic activity were analyzed in the biofilm. We monitored biomass, mortality, reproduction, and motility as end points in the freshwater snail P. acuta. Our results showed that bacterial survival and photosynthetic activity were sensitive to Diuron. Snails were not affected by the herbicide at the concentration tested. No significant interactions between the toxicant and grazers were observed on the biofilm. Reproductive traits, however, were slightly affected, indicating a possible endocrine disruption.
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