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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Crop Bioprotection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #335953

Research Project: New Ovicidal Microbial Agents for the Biological Control of Mosquitoes

Location: Crop Bioprotection Research

Title: Effect of pesticides on microbial communities in container aquatic habitats

Author
item Muturi, Ephantus (juma)
item Donthu, Ravi - University Of Illinois
item Fields, Christopher - University Of Illinois
item Moise, Imelda - University Of Miami
item Kim, Chang-hyun - University Of Illinois

Submitted to: Scientific Reports
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/9/2017
Publication Date: 3/16/2017
Citation: Muturi, E.J., Donthu, R.K., Fields, C.J., Moise, I.K., Kim, C. 2017. Effect of pesticides on microbial communities in container aquatic habitats. Scientific Reports. 7:44565. doi: 10.1038/srep44565.

Interpretive Summary: Pesticides are a common type of contaminant in aquatic ecosystems and there is increasing effort to understand how these chemicals may affect aquatic organisms and human health. Mosquitoes spend part of their life cycle in aquatic systems and feed on microbial communities associated with decaying organic matter. While the potential direct effects of sublethal pesticide concentrations on mosquitoes are well-documented, the impact of pesticides on aquatic microbial communities that serve as a food resource for mosquito larvae remain poorly understood. This study shows that short term exposure to aquatic microbial communities to low concentrations of five pesticides (atrazine, glyphosate, malathion, carbaryl, and permethrin) and their combinations can alter microbial diversity and community structure. Individual insecticides but not herbicides reduced the microbial diversity and richness and two insecticides, carbaryl and permethrin, also altered the microbial community structure. A mixture of herbicides had no effect on microbial diversity or structure but a mixture of insecticides or all five pesticides reduced microbial diversity and altered the community structure. These findings suggest that exposure of aquatic ecosystems to low concentrations of pesticides can disrupt the resident microbial communities and there is need to investigate how these changes may affect mosquito growth, survival, and the risk of mosquito-borne disease.

Technical Abstract: Mosquitoes develop in a variety of aquatic habitats and feed on microbial communities associated with decaying organic matter. These aquatic habitats are often embedded within and around agricultural lands and are frequently exposed to agricultural chemicals. We used a microcosm approach to examine the single and combined effects of two herbicides (atrazine and glyphosate), and three insecticides (malathion, carbaryl, and permethrin) on microbial communities of a typical mosquito aquatic habitat. MiSeq sequencing of the V4 region of both bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA gene was used to characterize the microbial communities of indoor microcosms that were either exposed to each pesticide alone, a mix of herbicides, a mix of insecticides, or a mix of all five insecticides. Individual insecticides but not herbicides reduced the microbial diversity and richness and two insecticides, carbaryl and permethrin, also altered the microbial community structure. A mixture of herbicides had no effect on microbial diversity or structure but a mixture of insecticides or all five pesticides reduced microbial diversity and altered the community structure. These findings suggest that exposure of aquatic ecosystems to low concentrations of pesticides can disrupt the resident microbial communities and there is need to decipher how these changes may affect mosquito growth, survival, and the risk of mosquito-borne disease.