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Development of methods to assess the impact of herbicide use on the benthos of littoral impoundments in northeast Brazil

Abstract

We assess the impact on water quality of thelittoral watersheds in the Northeast Region ofBrazil caused by unregulated sugar-cane farmingpractices. Virtually all water sources areimpounded because near-drought conditionspertain throughout the region. Withoutexception, these water bodies are exploitedprimarily for domestic/municipal andagricultural purposes, and secondarily as afood source. Most of the land under cultivationis used for sugar cane production. Preliminaryacute and chronic toxicity data for theherbicide paraquat, applied in sugar canefarming, are included for prawn (Macrobrachium amazonicum), snails (Pomacea lineata) and for the cladoceran Daphnia similis. They indicate a sensitivityto paraquat, orders of magnitude higher thanpredicted from literature on the biota oftemperate species, when, coupled with theprevailing limnological cycles (annual run-off,scouring, erosion, eutrophication and drought),the toxicity data suggest a hithertounsuspected level of ecological vulnerability.This underscores the need for theimplementation of an inexpensive toxicitytesting program, based on endemic speciesreflecting local conditions in NortheastBrazil.

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Maria de Medeiros, V., Watanabe, T., Coler, R.R. et al. Development of methods to assess the impact of herbicide use on the benthos of littoral impoundments in northeast Brazil. Journal of Aquatic Ecosystem Stress and Recovery 9, 67–71 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1013199612093

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1013199612093

  • benthic invertebrates
  • Gramame/Mamuaba Reservoir Complex
  • multiple-use reservoirs
  • paraquat herbicide pollution
  • toxicity tests