Potential Impacts of Climate Change on the Toxicity of Pesticides towards Earthworms


This review examined one of the effects of climate change that has only recently received attention, i.e., climate change impacts on the distribution and toxicity of chemical contaminants in the environment. As ecosystem engineers, earthworms are potentially threatened by the increasing use of pesticides. Increases in temperature, precipitation regime changes, and related extreme climate events can potentially affect pesticide toxicity. This review of original research articles, reviews, and governmental and intergovernmental reports focused on the interactions between toxicants and environmental parameters. The latter included temperature, moisture, acidification, hypoxia, soil carbon cycle, and soil dynamics, as altered by climate change. Dynamic interactions between climate change and contaminants can be particularly problematic for organisms since organisms have an upper and lower physiological range, resulting in impacts on their acclimatization capacity. Climate change variables such as temperature and soil moisture also have an impact on acidification. An increase in temperature will impact precipitation which might impact soil pH. Also, an increase in precipitation can result in flooding which can reduce the population of earthworms by not giving juvenile earthworms enough time to develop into reproductive adults. As an independent stressor, hypoxia can affect soil organisms, alter bioavailability, and increase the toxicity of chemicals in some cases. Climate change variables, especially temperature and soil moisture, significantly affect the bioavailability of pesticides in the soil and the growth and reproduction of earthworm species.

Authors: H Kaka, P A Opute, M S Maboeta
; Full Source: Journal of toxicology 2021 Aug 20;2021:8527991. doi: 10.1155/2021/8527991.