Microbial products based on the entomopathogenic bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) are among the most common biopesticides used worldwide to suppress insect pests in forests, horticulture and agricultural crops. Some of the effects of commercial Bt have been recorded for terrestrial and freshwater non-target organisms but little research is available on marine fauna. Nevertheless, due to the contiguity of agro-ecosystems and coastal habitats, marine fauna may be highly influenced by this control method. We studied the effect of a commercial Bt product on the physiological and ecological responses and the energy budget of two of the most frequent marine intertidal bivalves in the Mediterranean, the native Mytilaster minimus and the invasive Brachidontes pharaonis. To test the effects experimentally, we simulated the worst scenarios possible using the average dose applied to fields and a hypothetical accumulation dose. The results showed the feeding rates of both species were affected detrimentally by the different experimental conditions; higher concentrations led to higher respiration rates, however neither species showed any significant difference in excretion rates. The biopesticide had a significant effect on the energy budget, the values decreasing with doses. In addition, it led to high mortality for the worst treatments and, in both species, induced significantly higher cardiac activity than in the controls. These results indicate a measurable effect of Bt commercial products on marine organisms, and great attention should be paid to biopesticides composed by entomopathogenic bacteria and addictive compounds. In addition, the results highlight the urgent need to study not only the effects of anthropogenic pressures on target organisms but also to extend our view to other ecosystems not expected to be influenced. Gaining data at the organismal level should help increase the sustainability of pest control and reduce the consequences of side-effects.
|Numero di pagine||9|
|Rivista||Marine Environmental Research|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2013|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes