Nontarget effects of ivermectin residues on earthworms and springtails dwelling beneath dung of treated cattle in four countries

Adam Scheffczyk, Kevin D. Floate, Wolf U. Blanckenhorn, Rolf Alexander Düring, Andrea Klockner, Joost Lahr, Jean Pierre Lumaret, Jörg Alfred Salamon, Thomas Tixier, Manuel Wohde, Jörg Römbke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The authorization of veterinary medicinal products requires that they be assessed for nontarget effects in the environment. Numerous field studies have assessed these effects on dung organisms. However, few studies have examined effects on soil-dwelling organisms, which might be exposed to veterinary medicinal product residues released during dung degradation. The authors compared the abundance of earthworms and springtails in soil beneath dung from untreated cattle and from cattle treated 0 d, 3 d, 7 d, 14 d, and 28 d previously with ivermectin. Study sites were located in different ecoregions in Switzerland (Continental), The Netherlands (Atlantic), France (Mediterranean), and Canada (Northern Mixed Grassland). Samples were collected using standard methods from 1 mo to 12 mo after pat deposition. Ivermectin concentrations in soil beneath dung pats ranged from 0.02 mg/kg dry weight (3 mo) to typically <0.006 mg/kg dry weight (5–7 mo). Earthworms were abundant and species-rich at the Swiss and Dutch sites, less common with fewer species at the French site, and essentially absent at the Canadian site. Diverse but highly variable communities of springtails were present at all sites. Overall, results showed little effect of residues on either earthworms or springtails. The authors recommend that inclusion of soil organisms in field studies to assess the nontarget effects of veterinary medicinal products be required only if earthworms or springtails exhibit sensitivity to the product in laboratory tests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1959-1969
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Collembola
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Lumbricidae
  • Soil invertebrate
  • Veterinary pharmaceutical


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