Terrestrial Model Ecosystems (TMEs) are frequently used to assess the potentially harmful effects of contaminants on terrestrial organisms. Therefore we have used this tool to simulate the leaching phenomena from agricultural soils, within the drainage basin of Lake Vela (Figueira da Foz, Central Portugal), and to perform a subsequent evaluation of the toxicity of the leachates obtained, after the treatment of soil-cores with the herbicide Lasso® on non-target freshwater species. Hence, standard (algae: Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata; cladoceran: Daphnia magna) and autochthonous (algae: Aphanizomenon flos-aquae; cladoceran: Daphnia longispina) species were exposed to several dilutions of leachates obtained from the application of different treatments to soil-cores collected in an agricultural field in the Lake Vela surrounds: RW-soil-core irrigated with artificial rain water; RW+L-soil-core irrigated with artificial rain water after the application of Lasso®; GW+L-soil-core irrigated with groundwater collected in local wells, after the application of Lasso®. Chemical analysis confirmed the presence of alachlor (active ingredient of Lasso®) in the leachates RW+L and GW+L at concentrations of 88 and 16.9 μg L−1 respectively. As expected, the results demonstrated that the leachate RW was not toxic for the tested species. However, leachates where the herbicide was applied, particularly the RW+L, was highly toxic to P. subcapitata (96 h-IC50 = 9.7%), contrasting with the absence of toxic effects in A. flos-aquae. Notwithstanding the effects on algae, the reproduction and growth of both daphnids were not affected by the potential toxicity of leachates. Nevertheless, our results were consistent with the chemical analysis and alachlor ecotoxicity data reported in the literature. Our study confirmed that the current use of pesticides in the lands near Lake Vela, especially Lasso®, combined with the specific properties of local soils, can contribute to the contamination of surface and groundwater resources, through leaching, and could compromise the weak balance of the freshwater ecosystem by affecting one of the main trophic levels: the primary producers.
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Abrantes N was recipient of a grant from the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation (FCT, Portugal) (SFRH/BD/10388/2002). The authors thank Joaquim Macedo de Sousa for their laboratory and field assistance.
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Abrantes, N., Pereira, R., Soares, A.M.V.M. et al. Evaluation of the Ecotoxicological Impact of the Pesticide Lasso® on Non-target Freshwater Species, Through Leaching from Nearby Agricultural Fields, Using Terrestrial Model Ecosystems. Water Air Soil Pollut 192, 211–220 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11270-008-9648-5
- Terrestrial model ecosystem