Minor metabolomic disturbances induced by glyphosate-isopropylammonium exposure at environmentally relevant concentrations in an aquatic turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis

Aquat Toxicol. 2023 Mar:256:106415. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2023.106415. Epub 2023 Feb 2.


The ecotoxicological and environmental impacts of glyphosate-based herbicides have received considerable attention due to their extensive use globally. However, the potential for adverse effects in cultured non-fish vertebrate species are commonly ignored. In this study, effects on growth, indicators of functional performance, gut microbial diversity, liver antioxidant responses and metabolite profiles were evaluated in soft-shelled turtle hatchlings (Pelodiscus sinensis) exposed to different concentrations of glyphosate-isopropylammonium (0, 0.02, 0.2, 2 and 20 mg/L). No significant changes in growth or functional performance (food intake, swimming speed), gut microbiota, and liver antioxidant responses (SOD and CAT activities, MDA content) were observed in exposed turtles. However, hepatic metabolite profiles revealed distinct perturbations that primarily involved amino acid metabolism in turtles exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations. Overall, our results suggested that metabolite profiles may be more sensitive than phenotypic or general physiological endpoints and gut microbiota profiling, and indicate a potential mechanism of hepatotoxicity caused by glyphosate-isopropylammonium based on untargeted metabolomics analysis. Furthermore, the toxicity of glyphosate at environmentally relevant concentrations might be relatively minor in aquatic turtle species.

Keywords: Amino acid metabolism; Antioxidant response; Growth rate; Gut microbiota; Herbicide; Locomotor ability; Pelodiscus sinensis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants
  • Glycine / toxicity
  • Glyphosate
  • Turtles*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical* / toxicity


  • Antioxidants
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Glycine