Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 11, pp 10371–10382 | Cite as

Acute toxicity of chemical pesticides and plant-derived essential oil on the behavior and development of earthworms, Eudrilus eugeniae (Kinberg) and Eisenia fetida (Savigny)

  • Prabhakaran Vasantha-Srinivasan
  • Sengottayan Senthil-Nathan
  • Athirstam Ponsankar
  • Annamalai Thanigaivel
  • Muthiah Chellappandian
  • Edward-Sam Edwin
  • Selvaraj Selin-Rani
  • Kandaswamy Kalaivani
  • Wayne B. Hunter
  • Veeramuthu Duraipandiyan
  • Naif Abdullah Al-Dhabi
Plant-borne compounds and nanoparticles: challenges for medicine, parasitology and entomology


Comparative toxicity of two chemical pesticides (temephos and monocrotophos) versus a plant-derived betel leaf oil Piper betle (L.) to earthworm Eudrilus eugeniae (Kinberg) and redworm Eisenia fetida Savigny, historically: Eisenia foetida (Savigny 1826), was evaluated. Mortality rate was more prominent in temephos at 100 μg concentration to both the earthworms in filter paper test (FPT) as well as 10 mg concentration in artificial soil test (AST). In contrast, P. betle does not display much mortality rate to both the earthworms even at 1000 mg of treatment concentrations. The lethal concentration (LC50) value was observed at 3.89 and 5.26 mg/kg for temephos and monocrotophos against E. eugeniae and 3.81 and 5.25 mg/kg to E. fetida, respectively. Whereas, LC50 value of betel leaf oil was only observed at 3149 and 4081 mg/kg to E. eugeniae and E. fetida, respectively. Correspondingly, the avoidance or attraction assay also displayed that earthworms were more sensitive to the soil containing chemical pesticides. Whereas, the avoidance percentage was decreased in the P. betle oil. Similarly, sublethal concentration of chemical pesticides (5 and 6.5 mg) significantly reduced the earthworm weight and growth rate. However, P. betle oil did not change the developmental rate in the duration of the assay (2, 7 and 14 days) even at 4000 mg treatment concentration. The enzyme ratio of CAT and SOD was also affected significantly after exposure to the chemical pesticides (6.5 mg/kg). Hence, our study implied the risk assessment associated with the chemical pesticides and also recommends plant-derived harmless P. betle oil against beneficial species as an alternative pest control agent.


Temephos Monocrotophos Earthworm Growth rate Enzyme 



The project was fully financially supported by the King Saud University through the Vice Deanship of Research Chairs.

Compliance with ethical standards


The use or mention of a trademark or proprietary product does not constitute an endorsement, guarantee, or warranty of the product by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and does not imply its approval to the exclusion of other suitable products.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Prabhakaran Vasantha-Srinivasan
    • 1
  • Sengottayan Senthil-Nathan
    • 1
  • Athirstam Ponsankar
    • 1
  • Annamalai Thanigaivel
    • 1
  • Muthiah Chellappandian
    • 1
  • Edward-Sam Edwin
    • 1
  • Selvaraj Selin-Rani
    • 1
  • Kandaswamy Kalaivani
    • 2
  • Wayne B. Hunter
    • 3
  • Veeramuthu Duraipandiyan
    • 4
  • Naif Abdullah Al-Dhabi
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Biopesticides and Environmental Toxicology, Sri Paramakalyani Centre for Excellence in Environmental SciencesManonmaniam Sundaranar UniversityTirunelveliIndia
  2. 2.Post Graduate and Research Centre, Department of ZoologySri Parasakthi College for WomenTirunelveliIndia
  3. 3.United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Horticultural Research LaboratoryFort PierceUSA
  4. 4.Department of Botany and Microbiology, Addiriyah Chair for Environmental Studies, College of ScienceKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia

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