Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 10, Issue 8, pp 1611–1622 | Cite as

Bioaccumulation of ivermectin from natural and artificial sediments in the benthic organism Lumbriculus variegatus

  • Tineke SlootwegEmail author
  • Michel Alvinerie
  • Philipp Egeler
  • Daniel Gilberg
  • Jussi V. K. Kukkonen
  • Jörg Oehlmann
  • Carsten Prasse
  • Arto J. Sormunen
  • Markus Liebig



Although ivermectin is a widely used lipophilic parasiticide, data on its potential bioaccumulation in aquatic invertebrates are scarce. In this study, bioaccumulation patterns of radiolabeled 3H-ivermectin from sediments into tissues of the sediment-dwelling worm Lumbriculus variegatus were investigated and assessed.

Materials and methods

Two independent studies are described. In the first study, bioaccumulation kinetics of ivermectin in L. variegatus were investigated by following uptake, elimination, and biotransformation of the compound in worms exposed in artificial sediment. In the second study, possible effects of sediment characteristics on bioavailability of ivermectin were evaluated by comparing accumulation in worms exposed in three different natural sediments and one artificial sediment (organic carbon content 2% to 21%).

Results and discussion

During 28 days of exposure, ivermectin accumulated in worms exposed in all sediments with calculated bioaccumulation factors ranging from 0.2 to 11.0. Bioaccumulation factors correlated with total increase in biomass of worms during the exposure period and with organic carbon content of the sediments. Calculated biota–sediment accumulation factors ranged from 2.1 to 16.6, indicating that other variables, like quality of organic carbon and feeding behavior of the worms, may have influenced the bioavailability of ivermectin. Biotransformation products of ivermectin were only found in water, but not in sediment and worms.


Results show that ivermectin has potential to bioaccumulate in L. variegatus, which could indicate a risk for biomagnification of the compound in the food chain.


Bioaccumulation Bioavailability Ivermectin Lumbriculus variegatus Sediment 



The authors thank Karen Duis for her helpful comments on the manuscript. The studies were performed within the EU projects Keybioeffects (MRTN-CT-2006-035695), MODELKEY (511237-GOCE), and ERAPharm (SSPI-CT-2003-511135) of the 6th Framework Program, and project 214545 by the Academy of Finland.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tineke Slootweg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michel Alvinerie
    • 2
  • Philipp Egeler
    • 1
  • Daniel Gilberg
    • 1
  • Jussi V. K. Kukkonen
    • 3
  • Jörg Oehlmann
    • 4
  • Carsten Prasse
    • 5
  • Arto J. Sormunen
    • 3
  • Markus Liebig
    • 1
  1. 1.ECT Oekotoxikologie GmbHFlörsheim/MainGermany
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Pharmacologie-ToxicologieInstitut National de la Recherche AgronomiqueToulouseFrance
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of Eastern FinlandJoensuuFinland
  4. 4.Department Aquatic EcotoxicologyGoethe University Frankfurt am MainFrankfurtGermany
  5. 5.Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG)KoblenzGermany

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