Effect of pesticides on microbial communities in container aquatic habitats

Ephantus J. Muturi, Ravi Kiran Donthu, Christopher J. Fields, Imelda K. Moise, Chang Hyun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Container aquatic habitats support a specialized community of macroinvertebrates (e.g. mosquitoes) that feed on microbial communities associated with decaying organic matter. These aquatic habitats are often embedded within and around agricultural lands and are frequently exposed to pesticides. We used a microcosm approach to examine the single and combined effects of two herbicides (atrazine, glyphosate), and three insecticides (malathion, carbaryl, permethrin) on microbial communities of container aquatic habitats. MiSeq sequencing of the V4 region of both bacterial and archaeal 16S rRNA gene was used to characterize the microbial communities of indoor microcosms that were either exposed to each pesticide alone, a mix of herbicides, a mix of insecticides, or a mix of all five insecticides. Individual insecticides but not herbicides reduced the microbial diversity and richness and two insecticides, carbaryl and permethrin, also altered the microbial community structure. A mixture of herbicides had no effect on microbial diversity or structure but a mixture of insecticides or all five pesticides reduced microbial diversity and altered the community structure. These findings suggest that exposure of aquatic ecosystems to individual pesticides or their mixtures can disrupt aquatic microbial communities and there is need to decipher how these changes affect resident macroinvertebrate communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number44565
JournalScientific reports
StatePublished - Mar 16 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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