Modulation of chlorpyrifos toxicity to soil arthropods by simultaneous exposure to polyester microfibers or tire particle microplastics

Selonen, S, Jemec Kokalj, A, Benguedouar, H, Alavian P., Dolar, A, Drobne, D, Cornelis a. m. van Gestel
[ site ] Applied soil ecology, 2023

Synthetic fibers released from sewage sludge and tire particles released from traffic are among the most common types of microplastics in soil. In soil, microplastics may interact with chemicals, such as plant protection products used in agriculture. Most studies on the interactions of microplastics and chemicals focused on aquatic environments and only few addressed soil arthropods. To increase the understanding of the combined effects of microplastics and chemicals on soil arthropods, we studied the effects of polyester fibers and tire particles on the toxicity of the insecticide chlorpyrifos. Springtails (Folsomia candida) and woodlice (Porcellio scaber) were exposed in Lufa 2.2 soil to a range of chlorpyrifos concentrations (0.0088–0.8 and 0.2–3.9 mg kg−1 dry soil, respectively) without or with 0.05 % w/w (“low”) or 0.5 % w/w (“high”) of microplastics. Tire particles reduced the lethality of chlorpyrifos to springtails (LC50 = 0.13–0.14 mg kg−1 dry soil) and isopods (LC50 = 1.6 mg kg−1 dry soil) by a factor of 2- > 2.5 and the chlorpyrifos-induced inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity and changes in electron transfer system (ETS) activity in P. scaber by a factor of 2–4. Polyester fibers reduced the chlorpyrifos-induced inhibition of AChE activity by a factor of 2 and increased (ETS) activity in P. scaber by a factor of >3. The fibers did not affect the toxicity of chlorpyrifos to the survival of P. scaber or the survival and reproduction of F. candida. These results indicate that the bioavailability of chlorpyrifos may be decreased by microplastics, especially by tire particles. This study shows the importance of applying a mixture toxicity approach for understanding the threats of microplastics to soil, but also suggests that the organism and the endpoints chosen are crucial for the interpretation of the effects of combined exposures to microplastics and chemicals.