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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2012

Interactions with DOM and biofilms affect the fate and bioavailability of insecticides to invertebrate grazers

Lundqvist, Anna; Bertilsson, Stefan; Goedkoop, Willem


We studied the fate and bioavailability of insecticides in short-term experiments (48 h) with different hydrophobicity (3.8 pM carbofuran, 3.0 pM lindane, and 5.3 pM chlorpyrifos) across gradients in dissolved organic matter (low-, medium-, and high-DOM) in freshwater microcosms, mimicking runoff events of pesticides. The effects of biofilms were studied by including treatments with biofilms cultivated under different DOM-concentrations. The presence of biofilms negatively affected chlorpyrifos water concentrations, indicating rapid sorption of this hydrophobic pesticide, while lindane concentrations instead increased and carbofuran concentrations were unaffected. Associations of lindane and chlorpyrifos with biofilms were 1.6-2.0 times higher in low- and high-DOM than in medium-DOM treatments, indicating that sorption was affected not only by the quantity, but also by the quality of DOM. Although the proportion of pesticides recovered in biofilms was consistently less than 1 % of added pesticide, pesticide concentrations in biofilms were on average more than 75- (carbofuran) and 382-times (lindane) higher than those in water. Snail accumulation of all three pesticides was significantly affected by DOM-concentrations and correlated to pesticide hydrophobicity, but the relationships were not straightforward. For example, carbofuran uptake in treatments without biofilms was higher in low- DOM than in medium- and high-DOM treatments, while chlorpyrifos uptake instead increased across the DOM-gradient. Biofilms played a role only for the uptake of chlorpyrifos, which decreased markedly in the presence of biofilms. Bioconcentration factors (BCF) calculated for snails and biofilms differed for the three pesticides and were related to their sorption behaviour (i.e., hydrophobicity). The relative proportion of pesticide uptake through biofilm consumption was consistently less than 2 %, showing that passive uptake was by far the predominant uptake pathway for all three pesticides.


Dissolved organic matter; Pesticides; Bioconcentration factor; Periphyton; Benthic invertebrates; Theodoxus fluviatilis

Published in

2012, volume: 21, number: 8, pages: 2398-2408
Publisher: SPRINGER

Authors' information

Lundqvist, Anna
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Bertilsson, Stefan
Uppsala University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences

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