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Comparative Assessment of Vegetative and Reproductive Terrestrial Plant Species Endpoints from Exposure to Herbicides and Potential Environmental Implications - a Literature Review.

  • Christl, Heino1
  • Hoen, Thierry1
  • Zumkier, Ulrich1
  • 1 tier3-solutions GmbH, Kolberger Str. 61 - 63, Leverkusen, Germany. , (Germany)
Published Article
Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management
Wiley (John Wiley & Sons)
Publication Date
Oct 09, 2019
DOI: 10.1002/ieam.4218
PMID: 31596054


To investigate whether vegetative endpoints are protective of reproductive endpoints in terrestrial plant risk assessments (RA) for authorisation of plant protection products (PPPs), we assessed differences in sensitivity to herbicides between these parameters. Published literature and unpublished proprietary data generated for the registration of PPPs were used to compile a database. If reproductive endpoints were systematically more sensitive than the vegetative endpoints on which regulatory decisions are presently based, a concern could be raised on the protectiveness of the current RA process. Vegetative and reproductive endpoints were assessed considering further potentially relevant parameters. Reproductive endpoints were compared with vegetative endpoints of juvenile plants or with those of mature plants. Direct comparison by substance-species combination proved to be most adequate and was used to calculate quotients by effect level. In addition, we assessed the spread between different effect levels, estimating by which factor the conservatism would increase if ER50 endpoints were replaced by ER25 or ER10 endpoints with otherwise unchanged test parameters. Reproductive endpoints were found to be similarly sensitive as vegetative endpoints derived in non-target terrestrial plant studies conducted following OECD or OCSPP guidelines. A switch from vegetative to reproductive endpoints would therefore not significantly change the conservatism (less than a factor of 1.5), whereas the change from ER50 to ER10 would (by a factor of ca. 5 to 6). However, as ecotoxicological tests on terrestrial plants bear intrinsic high variability that prevents to reliably detect effects at the 10% effect level, ER10 endpoints are not a reliable basis for RA. No particular family, genus or species with clusters of distinctly insensitive vegetative and sensitive reproductive endpoints could be identified that would call for regular testing of reproductive endpoints. Also, from the dataset available no specific herbicidal mode(s) of action could be singled out for acting particularly on reproductive endpoints. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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