The comparative toxicity to soil invertebrates of natural chemicals and their synthetic analogues

Whitaker, J. ORCID:; Chaplow, J.S. ORCID:; Potter, E.; Scott, W.A.; Hopkin, S.; Harman, M.; Sims, I.; Sorokin, N.. 2009 The comparative toxicity to soil invertebrates of natural chemicals and their synthetic analogues. Chemosphere, 76 (3). 345-352.

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The introduction of Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals (REACH), requires companies to register and risk assess all substances produced or imported in volumes of >1 tonne per year. Extrapolation methods which use existing data for estimating the effects of chemicals are attractive to industry, and comparative data are therefore increasingly in demand. Data on natural toxic chemicals could be used for extrapolation methods such as read-across. To test this hypothesis, the toxicity of natural chemicals and their synthetic analogues were compared using standardised toxicity tests. Two chemical pairs: the napthoquinones, juglone (natural) and 1,4-naphthoquinone (synthetic); and anthraquinones, emodin (natural) and quinizarin (synthetic) were chosen, and their comparative effects on the survival and reproduction of collembolans, earthworms, enchytraeids and predatory mites were assessed. Differences in sensitivity between the species were observed with the predatory mite (Hypoaspis aculeifer) showing the least sensitivity. Within the chemical pairs, toxicity to lethal and sub-lethal endpoints was very similar for the four invertebrate species. The exception was earthworm reproduction, which showed differential sensitivity to the chemicals in both naphthoquinone and anthraquinone pairs. Differences in toxicity identified in the present study may be related to degree of exposure and/or subtle differences in the mode of toxic action for the chemicals and species tested. It may be possible to predict differences by identifying functional groups which infer increased or decreased toxicity in one or other chemical. The development of such techniques would enable the use of read-across from natural to synthetic chemicals for a wider group of compounds.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry > SE01B Sustainable Monitoring, Risk Assessment and Management of Chemicals
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry > BGC Topic 3 - Managing Threats to Environment and Health
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Shore
ISSN: 0045-6535
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Biology and Microbiology
Ecology and Environment
Related URLs:
Date made live: 30 Jul 2009 13:09 +0 (UTC)

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