Ecotoxicology and environmental safety

Chitobiase activity as an indicator of altered survival, growth and reproduction in Daphnia pulex and Daphnia magna (Crustacea: Cladocera) exposed to spinosad and diflubenzuron.

PMID 21497397


Chitobiase is involved in exoskeleton degradation and recycling during the moulting process in arthropods. In aquatic species, the moulting fluid is released into the aqueous environment, and chitobiase activity present therein can be used to follow the dynamics of arthropod populations. Here, chitobiase activity was used for monitoring the impact of mosquito candidate larvicides on Daphnia pulex and Daphnia magna under laboratory conditions. Both species were exposed to spinosad (2, 4, 8 μg L(-1)) and diflubenzuron (0.2, 0.4, 0.8 μg L(-1)) for 14 days. Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis (Bti; 0.25, 0.5, 1 μL L(-1)) was used as the reference larvicide. Chitobiase activity, adult survival, individual growth and fecundity, expressed as the number of neonates produced, were measured every 2 days. Average Exposure Concentrations of spinosad were ten-fold lower than the nominal concentrations, whereas only a slight deviation was observed for diflubenzuron. In contrast to Bti, spinosad and diflubenzuron significantly affected both species in terms of adult survival, and production of neonates. As compared to D. pulex, D. magna was more severely affected by diflubenzuron, at low and medium concentrations, with reduced adult growth and much lower chitobiase activity. Chitobiase activity was positively correlated with the individual body length, number of neonates produced between two consecutive observation dates, and number of females and neonates. In addition, the significant positive correlations between chitobiase activity measured on the last sampling date before the first emission of neonates and the cumulative number of neonates produced during the whole observation period strongly support the potential of the activity of this chitinolytic enzyme as a proxy for assessing the dynamics of arthropod populations exposed to larvicides used for mosquito control.

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Diflubenzuron, PESTANAL®, analytical standard