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Journal Articles Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology Year : 2011

Effects of organic herbicides on phototrophic microbial communities in freshwater ecosystems


Over the past 15 years, significant research efforts have been channelled into assessing the effects of organic herbicides on freshwater phototrophic microbial communities. The results of this research are reviewed herein. Main conclusions could be summarized into 5 points: - Most relevant assessments of this sort have dealt with the effects of triazine and phenylurea herbicides. Herbicides from these chemical classes are often considered to be model compounds when photosystem-II inhibitors are studied. - Until the early 2000s, the vast majority of investigations conducted to evaluate herbicide effects on phototropic microbes were performed in micro- or meso-cosms. In such studies, herbicides were usually applied alone, and often at concentrations much higher than those detected in the environment. More recently, the trend has been towards more realistic and relevant studies, in which lower herbicide concentrations were considered, and compound mixtures or successive treatments were tested. Increasingly, in situ studies are being designed to directly evaluate microbial community responses, following chemical exposures in contaminated aquatic environments. - Several biological endpoints are used to evaluate how organisms in the phototrophic microbial community respond to herbicide exposure. These endpoints allow the detection of quantitative changes, such as chl a concentrations, total cell counts or periphytic biomass, qualitative changes such as community structure to algal diversity, or functional changes such as photosynthesis, respiration, etc. They could give different and complementary information concerning the responses of microbial communities. - In addition, PICT approaches, which have generally combined functional and structural measurements, may prove to be valuable for assessing both an immediate impact, and for factoring in the contamination history of an ecosystem at the community level. - A relevant assessment of pesticides effects should include details on environmental characterization, such as abiotic parameters (light, flow speed, nutrients content) or biotic parameters (diversity and structure of biofilms), as they control the bioavailability of pesticides and the exposure of microbial communities. To improve the value of ecotoxicological risk assessments, future research is needed in two key areas: first, the effects of pollutants at the community level must be detailed (new tools and new end points), and second, more effort must be directed to reinforcing the ecological relevance of toxicological investigations.
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hal-00655976 , version 1 (03-01-2012)



S. Pesce, Agnes Bouchez, B. Montuelle. Effects of organic herbicides on phototrophic microbial communities in freshwater ecosystems. Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 2011, 214, p. 87 - p. 124. ⟨10.1007/978-1-4614-0668-6_5⟩. ⟨hal-00655976⟩
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