Impacts of a novel controlled-release TiO2-coated (nano-) formulation of carbendazim and its constituents on freshwater macroinvertebrate communities

Tom A.P. Nederstigt*, Willie J.G.M. Peijnenburg, Maarten Schrama, J. Ruud van Ommen, Martina G. Vijver

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Recently, the delivery of pesticides through novel controlled-release (nano-)formulations has been proposed intending to reduce (incidental) pesticide translocation to non-target sites. Concerns have however been raised with regards to the potentially enhanced toxicity of controlled-release (nano-)formulations to non-target organisms and ecosystems. We evaluated long-term (i.e. 1 and 3 month-) impacts of a novel controlled-release pesticide formulation (nano-TiO2-coated carbendazim) and its individual and combined constituents (i.e. nano-sized TiO2 and carbendazim) on naturally established freshwater macroinvertebrate communities. In doing so, we simultaneously assessed impacts of nano-sized TiO2 (nTiO2), currently one of the most used and emitted engineered nanomaterials world-wide. We determined ecological impacts on diversity (i.e. β-diversity), structure (i.e. rank abundance parameters), and functional composition (i.e. feeding guilds & trophic groups) of communities and underlying effects at lower organizational levels (i.e. population dynamics of individual taxa). Freshwater macroinvertebrate communities were negligibly impacted by nTiO2 at environmentally realistic concentrations. The controlled-release (nano-)formulation significantly delayed release of carbendazim to the water column. Nevertheless, conventional- (i.e. un-coated-) and nTiO2-coated carbendazim induced a similar set of adverse impacts at all investigated levels of ecological organization and time points. Our findings show fundamental restructuring of the taxonomic- and functional composition of macroinvertebrate communities as a result of low-level pesticide exposure, and thereby highlight the need for mitigating measures to reduce pesticide-induced stress on freshwater ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number156554
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Beta-diversity
  • Gas phase deposition
  • Mesocosm
  • Pesticide
  • Rank abundance
  • TiO nanoparticles


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