Herbicide boost for tadpoles: study

2017-07-05 18:31
(iStock)

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - Maligned as a bee-killer and possibly cancer-causing, a common herbicide has turned out to be a boon for tadpoles making them more toxic to predators, researchers said on Wednesday.

Common toad larvae exposed to glyphosate, used in the well-known herbicide Roundup, contained higher doses of bufadienolides - life-saving natural chemicals found in some plants and animals.

Bufadienolides taste bad to put off potential tadpole diners, and can kill in large quantities.

"That environmental pollution can induce changes in bufadienolide production is relevant not only for toads but also for their predators," said study co-author Veronika Bokony of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

While some toad species are declining, she pointed out, others such as the Australian cane toad are invading new areas and disturbing established ecosystems.

Predatory-prey dynamics

"Thus, if some pesticides make toads more poisonous, this might alter predatory-prey dynamics and the structure of natural communities in freshwater habitats," Bokony told AFP.

Toads with more bufadienolides in their bodies are more toxic. Large Australian predators like crocodiles, for example, die from eating cane toads which are a large species and therefore contain more toxins.

For the experiment, Bokony and a team raised common toad larvae in water polluted with a glyphosate-based herbicide, and noted that the amount of bufadienolides in their tiny bodies were elevated.

"So these tadpoles became a more 'concentrated' source of bufadienolides compared to their siblings that were raised in clean water," said Bokony.

Glyphosates are widely used in agriculture, and pollute freshwater bodies that receive runoff from farms.

Cancer

The European Union will decide in December whether to renew the licence for glyphosate, which is produced by US agro-chemicals giant Monsanto.

Last year, Europe limited use of the herbicide for research, over fears that it causes cancer.

The EU's chemical agency said glyphosate should be not be classified as cancer-causing.

But this is challenged by scientists and environmentalists who point to a finding by the International Agency for Research on Cancer that glyphosate is "probably carcinogenic".


Read more on:    eu  |  us  |  hungary  |  plants  |  animals

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Play with your pet when you're not at home

Many pets are alone at home during the week while their owners are at work. So what do these animals get up to while they’re home alone?

 
 

Paws

How to get rid of fleas
12 Cool cat facts
Chocolate can be fatal for dogs
Spider-man star's adorable relationship with his dog
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.