The chronic toxicity of emamectin benzoate to three marine benthic species using microcosms

Bo Cheng, Jasper Van Smeden, John Deneer, Dick Belgers, Edwin Foekema, Ivo Roessink, Arrienne Matser, Paul J. Van den Brink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The commercial farming of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, may require the periodic application of emamectin benzoate (EB) treatments to reduce the effects of biological pests, such as sea lice. As a result, EB is detected in sediments beneath these fish farms at considerable levels. Literature sediment toxicity data for EB for marine benthic species is only available for 10-day sediment toxicity tests, which might be too short to assess field effects. Here, we present a sediment toxicity test to determine 28-day mortality and growth effect concentrations for the non-target polychaete worm Arenicola marina, the crustacean Corophium volutator and the mollusk Cerastoderma edule using a marine microcosm setup. Results indicate that no concentration-dependent increase of mortality and growth rate was apparent to A. marina and C. edule. But for C. volutator, a concentration-dependent increase in mortality was observed, resulting in a calculated 28-d LC50 of 316 μg/kg dry sediment (95% confidence interval: 267–373 μg/kg dry sediment). There were significant effects on C. volutator growth rate at concentrations of 100 μg/kg dry sediment and above (NOEC = 30 μg/kg dry sediment). These observations show that C. volutator is more sensitive to EB than A. marina, which differs from results reported in previous studies. Comparison to the most sensitive NOEC (30 μg/kg dry sediment) found for C. volutator (organisms of 8–11 mm length), shows that the Environmental Quality Standard, derived by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency in 2017 which based on freshwater species data (NOEC = 1.175 μg/kg dry sediment), are relatively strict and is sufficiently protective for the marine species tested in this paper.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110452
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • Arenicola marina
  • Benthic invertebrates
  • Cerastoderma edule
  • Corophium volutator
  • Emamectin benzoate
  • Sediment bioassay


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