In recent years, the need for the development of alternative test methods for the conventional acute fish toxicity test (AFT) with adult fish has often been discussed. In addition, concerns have been raised on the potential risks related with environmentally realistic pesticide mixtures since risk evaluations have traditionally been based on individual pesticides. The insecticide/acaricide abamectin and the fungicide difenoconazole are the main pesticides that are intensively used in Brazilian strawberry crop and are hence likely to occur simultaneously in edge-of-field waterbodies. The aim of the present study was therefore to evaluate the lethal and sublethal toxicity of single and mixture exposures of these pesticides to zebrafish early life stages (embryos and juveniles). By comparing the derived toxicity data of the individual compounds with that previously determined for zebrafish adults, the order of life stage sensitivity was juvenile > adult > embryo. The pesticide mixture revealed a dose-level dependent deviation of the independent action model, with antagonism at low dose levels and synergism at high dose levels. Sublethal parameters (especially those related with locomotion) were considerably more sensitive than lethality. Subsequently, the inclusion of sublethal parameters may greatly improve the sensitivity of FET tests and hence its suitability as a substitution of adult fish testing in risk assessment evaluations.
- Early life stages
- Pesticide mixture