Effects of chlorpyrifos, carbendazim and linuron on the ecology of a small indoor aquatic microcosm

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To validate the use of small indoor microcosms for the risk assessment of pesticides, the fate and effects of chlorpyrifos, carbendazim, and linuron were studied in 8.5¿liter indoor freshwater microcosms. Functional and structural responses to selected concentrations were evaluated and compared with responses observed in larger-scale model ecosystem studies. Overall, the microcosms adequately displayed the chain of effects resulting from the application, although they did not always predict the exact fate and responses that were observed in larger semifield studies. Because closed systems were used that did not contain sediment and macrophytes, pesticides were relatively persistent in the present study. Consequently, calculated toxicity values were generally more comparable with those reported in studies with long- than with short-term exposure. Carbendazim had a higher overall no-observed-effect concentration (NOEC) compared with experiments performed in larger systems because macroinvertebrate taxa, the most sensitive species group to this fungicide, were not abundant or diverse. Future refinements to the test system could include the addition of a sediment compartment and sensitive macroinvertebrate taxa. However, the simple design offers the potential to perform experiments under more controlled conditions than larger and, consequently, more complex model ecosystems, while maintaining relatively high ecologic realism compared with standard laboratory tests. Further implications for risk-assessment studies are discussed in an ecotoxicologic and methodologic context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-35
JournalArchives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • fresh-water microcosms
  • active ingredient chlorpyrifos
  • insecticide dursban(r) 4e
  • outdoor experimental ditches
  • macrophyte-dominated mesocosms
  • fungicide carbendazim
  • ecosystem metabolism
  • herbicide linuron
  • primary producers
  • model-ecosystems

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