From seeds to plasma: confirmed exposure of multiple farmland bird species to clothianidin during sowing of winter cereals

Lennon, Rosie J, Peach, Will J, Dunn, Jenny C, Shore, Richard F, Pereira, M Glória, Sleep, Darren, Dodd, Steve, Wheatley, Christopher J, Arnold, Kathryn E and Brown, Colin D (2020) From seeds to plasma: confirmed exposure of multiple farmland bird species to clothianidin during sowing of winter cereals. Science of The Total Environment, 723 . p. 138056. ISSN 0048-9697

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138056

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From seeds to plasma: confirmed exposure of multiple farmland bird species to clothianidin during sowing of winter cereals
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Abstract

Neonicotinoids are the largest group of systemic insecticides worldwide and are most commonly applied as agricultural seed treatments. However, little is known about the extent to which farmland birds are exposed to these compounds during standard agricultural practices. This study uses winter cereal, treated with the neonicotinoid clothianidin, as a test system to examine patterns of exposure in farmland birds during a typical sowing period. The availability of neonicotinoid-treated seed was recorded post-sowing at 39 fields (25 farms), and camera traps were used to monitor seed consumption by wild birds in situ. The concentration of clothianidin in treated seeds and crop seedlings was measured via liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, and avian blood samples were collected from 11 species of farmland bird from a further six capture sites to quantify the prevalence and level of clothianidin exposure associated with seed treatments. Neonicotinoid-treated seeds were found on the soil surface at all but one of the fields surveyed at an average density of 2.8 seeds/m2. The concentration of clothianidin in seeds varied around the target application rate, whilst crop seedlings contained on average 5.9% of the clothianidin measured in seeds. Exposure was confirmed in 32% of bird species observed in treated fields and 50% of individual birds post-sowing; the median concentration recorded in positive samples was 12 ng/mL. Results here provide clear evidence that a variety of farmland birds are subject to neonicotinoid exposure following normal agricultural sowing of neonicotinoid-treated cereal seed. Furthermore, the widespread availability of seeds at the soil surface was identified as a primary source of exposure. Overall, these data are likely to have global implications for bird species and current agricultural policies where neonicotinoids are in use, and may be pertinent to any future risk assessments for systemic insecticide seed treatments.

Keywords:agriculture, insecticide, clothianidin, systemic, sub-lethal effects, ecological monitoring
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D700 Agricultural Sciences
C Biological Sciences > C910 Applied Biological Sciences
C Biological Sciences > C150 Environmental Biology
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D441 Farm Management
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D447 Environmental Conservation
C Biological Sciences > C180 Ecology
C Biological Sciences > C110 Applied Biology
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D400 Agriculture
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D325 Animal Toxicology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:40400
Deposited On:17 Apr 2020 15:35

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