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Assessment of fungicide- and insecticide-coated seed risks for red-legged partridges

AuthorsLópez-Antia, Ana ; Ortiz-Santaliestra, Manuel E. ; Mateo, Rafael
Issue Date2012
CitationSETAC 6th World Congress/SETAC Europe 22nd Annual Meeting (2012)
AbstractThe use of agrochemicals is suspected to be a major cause of population declines of farmland birds from Western Europe. Apart from indirect effects like reduction of available food and optimal habitat, ingestion of pesticide-coated seeds constitute a potential way of direct intoxication. Although the most toxic chemicals are being legally restricted, some of the pesticides currently used for seed coating can cause adverse effects when consumed by birds. The aim of the present project is to test the effects of coated seed ingestion on red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa) physiology, fitness and reproduction. We tested two insecticides (natural pyrethrins and imidacloprid) and two fungicides (maneb and thiram). Each experiment consisted in two groups of 16 pairs of partridges exposed to two doses: a high dose corresponding to recommended for seed coating and a low dose being the 20% of the recommended one. Expsoure was splited in two periods, corresponding to the two seasons of cereal sowing; 25 days in autumn and 10 days in late winter. Imidacloprid was the most toxic compound, killing all patridges at the recommended dose in 21 days. All pesticides affected hematocrit (controls: 42 .3%; treated: 38 .3-41 .0%), whereas maneb at high dose reduced body condition after the first exposure period (10 .6% lower than controls). Reproduction was affected especially by the fungicides, and at low doses rather than at high ones. The two fungicides reduced the fecundation rate (34-54% vs. 62% in controls) and thiram caused a significant decrease in chick body condition 24 days after hatching (18% lower than controls) that ultimately caused a marginally significant mortality (p=0 .07). At high dose, this fungicide also caused an immunosupressive effect, as estimated by the PHA test to quantify the cellular immune response. The use of coated seeds is a widespread practice, and cereal seeds consitute a major portion of partridge diet during autumn and winter, when alternative food sources are scarce. On the other hand, colour, taste or texture of the coat can make the seed unpalatable for birds, reducing the risk of ingestion. Upcoming analyses will include an assessment of the environemntal exposure of partridges to coated seeds that will be achieved by the study of crop contents of field collected partridges provided by hunters.
DescriptionResumen del trabajo presentado al 6th SETAC World Congress and SETAC Europe 22nd Annual Meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, celebrados en Berlin (Alemania) del 20 al 24 de mayo de 2012.
Appears in Collections:(IREC) Comunicaciones congresos
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