Effect of pH and ionic strength on exposure and toxicity of encapsulated lambda-cyhalothrin to Daphnia magna

Sci Total Environ. 2015 Dec 15:538:683-91. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.08.035. Epub 2015 Aug 29.


Encapsulation of pesticide active ingredients in polymers has been widely employed to control the release of poorly water-soluble active ingredients. Given the high dispersibility of these encapsulated pesticides in water, they are expected to behave differently compared to their active ingredients; however, our current understanding of the fate and effects of encapsulated pesticides is still limited. In this study, we employed a central composite design (CCD) to investigate how pH and ionic strength (IS) affect the hydrodynamic diameter (HDD) and zeta potential of encapsulated λ-cyhalothrin and how those changes affect the exposure and toxicity to Daphnia magna. R(2) values greater than 0.82 and 0.84 for HDD and zeta potential, respectively, irrespective of incubation time suggest those changes could be predicted as a function of pH and IS. For HDD, the linear factor of pH and quadratic factor of pH×pH were found to be the most significant factors affecting the change of HDD at the beginning of incubation, whereas the effects of IS and IS×IS became significant as incubation time increased. For zeta potential, the linear factor of IS and quadratic factor of IS×IS were found to be the most dominant factors affecting the change of zeta potential of encapsulated λ-cyhalothrin, irrespective of incubation time. The toxicity tests with D. magna under exposure conditions in which HDD or zeta potential of encapsulated λ-cyhalothrin was maximized or minimized in the overlying water also clearly showed the worst-case exposure condition to D. magna was when the encapsulated λ-cyhalothrin is either stable or small in the overlying water. Our results show that water quality could modify the fate and toxicity of encapsulated λ-cyhalothrin in aquatic environments, suggesting understanding their aquatic interactions are critical in environmental risk assessment. Herein, we discuss the implications of our findings for risk assessment.

Keywords: Central composite design; Ecotoxicology; Encapsulated pesticide; Environmental fate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Daphnia / drug effects
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Insecticides / analysis
  • Insecticides / toxicity*
  • Nitriles / analysis
  • Nitriles / toxicity*
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Pyrethrins / analysis
  • Pyrethrins / toxicity*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*


  • Insecticides
  • Nitriles
  • Pyrethrins
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • cyhalothrin