Chronic exposure to imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam mixtures and toxicity in Chironomus dilutus

Chronic exposure to imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam mixtures and toxicity in Chironomus dilutusWidespread agricultural use of neonicotinoid insecticides has resulted in frequent detection of mixtures of these compounds in global surface waters. Recent evidence suggests that neonicotinoid mixtures can elicit synergistic toxicity in aquatic insects under acute exposure conditions, however this has not been validated for longer exposures more commonly encountered in the environment. Therefore, we aimed to characterize the chronic (28-day) toxicity of imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam mixtures under different doses and mixture ratios to determine if the assumption of synergistic toxicity would hold under more environmentally realistic exposure settings. The sensitive aquatic insect Chironomus dilutus was used as a representative test species, and successful emergence was used as a chronic endpoint. Applying the MIXTOX modeling approach, predictive parametric models were fitted using single-compound toxicity data and statistically compared to observed toxicity in subsequent mixture tests. Imidacloprid-clothianidin, clothianidin-thiamethoxam and imidacloprid-clothianidin-thiamethoxam mixtures did not significantly deviate from concentration-additive toxicity. However, the cumulative toxicity of the imidacloprid-thiamethoxam mixture deviated from the concentration-additive reference model, displaying dose-ratio dependent synergism and resulting in up to a 10% greater reduction in emergence from that predicted by concentration addition. Furthermore, exposure to select neonicotinoid mixtures above 1.0 toxic unit tended to shift sex-ratios toward more male-dominated populations. Results indicate that, similar to acute exposures, the general assumption of joint additivity cannot adequately describe chronic cumulative toxicity of all neonicotinoid mixtures. Indeed, our observations of weak synergism and sex-ratio shifts elicited by some mixture combinations should be considered in water quality guideline development and environmental risk assessment practices for neonicotinoid insecticides, and explored in further investigations of the effects of neonicotinoid mixtures on aquatic communities.

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Scientific Publication - Can chronic exposure to imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam mixtures exert greater than additive toxicity in Chironomus dilutus?
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