Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 5, pp 4821–4832 | Cite as

Acute toxicities and effects on multixenobiotic resistance activity of eight pesticides to the earthworm Eisenia andrei

  • Mirna VelkiEmail author
  • Antonia Weltmeyer
  • Thomas-Benjamin Seiler
  • Henner Hollert
Research Article


Investigations of deleterious effects on non-target species, including earthworms, have been conducted for a number of pesticides, but there is a need for additional assessments of potential adverse effects. In the present study, the acute toxicity of eight pesticides to the earthworm Eisenia andrei was assessed and compared. The exposures were conducted using the filter paper contact toxicity method. Based on the 48-h LC50 values, one pesticide was classified as supertoxic (combined fungicide containing difenoconazole and fludioxonil), four as extremely toxic (combined herbicide containing pethoxamide and terbuthylazine, combined fungicide containing fluopyram and tebuconazole, fungicide containing pyrimethanil, and combined fungicide containing thiram and carboxin), two as very toxic (combined fungicide containing flutriafol and thiabendazole, and herbicide containing fluroxypyr-meptyl), and one as moderately toxic (insecticide containing thiamethoxam). Additionally, effects of pesticides on the multixenobiotic resistance (MXR) activity were measured. Results showed that four pesticides caused significant effects with a recorded inhibition of the activity, which can consequently lead to a higher toxicity due to longer retention of the pesticides in the cells. Finally, for three chosen pesticides, gene expression of cat, sod, and gst was measured, and significant changes were observed. The obtained results show that earthworms could be significantly affected by pesticides commonly used in agriculture.


Earthworms Pesticides Acute toxicity Multixenobiotic resistance activity Gene expression 



The assessment of gene expression analyses was conducted within Return fellowship of Dr. Mirna Velki (Effects of environmental toxicants on expression of oxidative stress-related genes in earthworm and wheat) funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Tecan Spark microplate reader, used for assessment of multixenobiotic resistance activity, was purchased with Alexander von Humboldt Foundation equipment grant awarded to Dr. Mirna Velki.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyJosip Juraj Strossmayer University of OsijekOsijekCroatia
  2. 2.Department of Ecosystem Analysis, Institute for Environmental ResearchRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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