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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2010

Direct and indirect effects of the fungicide azoxystrobin in outdoor brackish water microcosms

Gustafsson, Kerstin; Blidberg, Eva; Elfgren, Irene Karlsson; Hellstrom, Anna; Kylin, Henrik; Gorokhova, Elena


The effects of the strobilurin fungicide azoxystrobin were studied in brackish water microcosms, with natural plankton communities and sediment. Two experiments were conducted: Experiment 1 (nominal conc. 0, 15 and 60 mu g/L, 24-L outdoor microcosms for 21 days) and a second, follow-up, Experiment 2 (nominal conc. 0, 3, 7.5, 15 mu g/L, 4-L indoor microcosms for 12 days). The microcosms represent a simplified brackish water community found in shallow semi-enclosed coastal areas in agricultural districts in the Baltic Sea region. Measured water concentrations of the fungicide (Experiment 1) were, on average, 83 and 62% of nominal concentrations directly after application, and 25 and 30% after 21 days, for the low and high dose treatments, respectively, corresponding to mean DT50-values of 15.1 and 25.8 days, for low and high dose treatments, respectively. In Experiment 1, direct toxic effects on calanoid copepods at both test concentrations were observed. Similarly, in Experiment 2, the copepod abundance was significantly reduced at all tested concentrations. There were also significant secondary effects on zooplankton and phytoplankton community structure, standing stocks and primary production. Very few ecotoxicological studies have investigated effects of plant protection products on Baltic organisms in general and effects on community structure and function specifically. Our results show that azoxystrobin is toxic to brackish water copepods at considerably lower concentrations than previously reported from single species tests on freshwater crustaceans, and that direct toxic effects on this ecologically important group may lead to cascade effects altering lower food webs and ecosystem functioning.


Baltic Sea; Strobilurin fungicides; Copepoda; Indirect effects; Model ecosystems; Toxicity

Published in

2010, Volume: 19, number: 2, pages: 431-444

      SLU Authors

    • Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG6 Clean water and sanitation
      SDG14 Life below water

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Environmental Management
      Fish and Aquacultural Science

      Publication Identifiers


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