First evaluation of novel potential synergistic effects of glyphosate and arsenic mixture on Rhinella arenarum (Anura: Bufonidae) tadpoles

Heliyon. 2019 Oct 25;5(10):e02601. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e02601. eCollection 2019 Oct.


The toxicity of glyphosate-based herbicide (GBH) and arsenite (As(III)) as individual toxicants and in mixture (50:50 v/v, GBH-As(III)) was determined in Rhinella arenarum tadpoles during acute (48 h) and chronic assays (22 days). In both types of assays, the levels of enzymatic activity [Acetylcholinesterase (AChE), Carboxylesterase (CbE), and Glutathione S-transferase (GST)] and the levels of thyroid hormones (triiodothyronine; T3 and thyroxine; T4) were examined. Additionally, the mitotic index (MI) of red blood cells (RBCs) and DNA damage index were calculated for the chronic assay. The results showed that the LC50 values at 48 h were 45.95 mg/L for GBH, 37.32 mg/L for As(III), and 30.31 mg/L for GBH-As(III) (with similar NOEC = 10 mg/L and LOEC = 20 mg/L between the three treatments). In the acute assay, Marking's additive index (S = 2.72) indicated synergistic toxicity for GBH-As(III). In larvae treated with GBH and As(III) at the NOEC-48h (10 mg/L), AChE activity increased by 36.25% and 33.05% respectively, CbE activity increased by 22.25% and 39.05 % respectively, and GST activity increased by 46.75% with the individual treatment with GBH and by 131.65 % with the GBH-As(III) mixture. Larvae exposed to the GBH-As(III) mixture also showed increased levels of T4 (25.67 %). In the chronic assay at NOEC-48h/8 (1.25 mg/L), As(III) and GBH-As(III) inhibited AChE activity (by 39.46 % and 35.65%, respectively), but did not alter CbE activity. In addition, As(III) highly increased (93.7 %) GST activity. GBH-As(III) increased T3 (97.34%) and T4 (540.93%) levels. Finally, GBH-As(III) increased the MI of RBCs and DNA damage. This study demonstrated strong synergistic toxicity of the GBH-As(III) mixture, negatively altering antioxidant systems and thyroid hormone levels, with consequences on RBC proliferation and DNA damage in treated R. arenarum tadpoles.

Keywords: Amphibians; Arsenite; Biomarkers; DNA; Environmental science; Glyphosate; Toxicology.