Evaluation of the Aquatic Toxicity of Several Triazole Fungicides

Metabolites. 2024 Apr 2;14(4):197. doi: 10.3390/metabo14040197.


Fungicides play an important role in crop protection, but they have also been shown to adversely affect non-target organisms, including those living in the aquatic environment. The aim of the present study is to combine experimental and computational approaches to evaluate the effects of flutriafol, metconazole, myclobutanil, tebuconazole, tetraconazole and triticonazole on aquatic model organisms and to obtain information on the effects of these fungicides on Lemna minor, a freshwater plant, at the molecular level. The EC50 (the half-maximum effective concentration) values for the growth inhibition of Lemna minor in the presence of the investigated fungicides show that metconazole (EC50 = 0.132 mg/L) and tetraconazole (EC50 = 0.539 mg/L) are highly toxic, tebuconazole (EC50 = 1.552 mg/L), flutriafol (EC50 = 3.428 mg/L) and myclobutanil (EC50 = 9.134 mg/L) are moderately toxic, and triticonazole (EC50 = 11.631 mg/L) is slightly toxic to this plant. The results obtained with the computational tools TEST, ADMETLab2.0 and admetSAR2.0 also show that metconazole and tetraconazole are toxic to other aquatic organisms: Pimephales promelas, Daphnia magna and Tetrahymena pyriformis. A molecular docking study shows that triazole fungicides can affect photosynthesis in Lemna minor because they strongly bind to C43 (binding energies between -7.44 kcal/mol and -7.99 kcal/mol) and C47 proteins (binding energies between -7.44 kcal/mol and -8.28 kcal/mol) in the reaction center of photosystem II, inhibiting the binding of chlorophyll a to these enzymes. In addition, they can also inhibit glutathione S-transferase, an enzyme involved in the cellular detoxification of Lemna minor.

Keywords: Lemna minor; aquatic organisms; photosynthesis.