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Synergistic interaction earthworm-microbiota : a role in the tolerance and detoxification of pesticides?

Abstract : Pesticides used to protect plants from pests, threat grievously non-target organisms such as earthworms. Due to their feeding and burrowing activities, earthworms are in direct contact with soil particles and microorganisms, as well as pollutants including pesticides. This work investigated (1) the effect of an organophosphate “ethyl-parathion” on the sensitivity of two endogeic earthworms’ species, Aporrectodea caliginosa and Allolobophora chlorotica; and (2) the role of the gut-microbiota, in synergy with the earthworm’s detoxification pathways, in pesticide tolerance or detoxification. In the first part, biochemical and behavioral responses showed that A. caliginosa is more sensitive to “ethyl-parathion” exposure than A. chlorotica. The endpoints measured ranged from physiological (weight), biochemical (AChE, CbEs, GST) to behavioral biomarkers (cast production and burrowing activity). Our findings showed that the sensitivity of A. caliginosa could be mainly due to the intrinsic sensitivity of its AChE to “ethyl-parathion”. The role of the carboxylesterases, acting as bioscavenger of OP, and the role of the detoxifying enzymes GST did not appear to be efficient mechanisms involved in A. chlorotica tolerance. In the second part, we aimed to characterize the microbiome within the ingested soil, the cast and the gut tissue of A. caliginosa and A. chlorotica in control or polluted soils. Our results showed differences in the microbial composition between these compartments. In this line, we suggested that these two earthworms’ species harbor a species-specific microbiome in their gut. In particular, our findings showed that the earthworm’s gut acts as a “biological filter” for ingested microbial communities during the gut passage. At the level of the gut, we identified four dominated genus within the gut of A. caliginosa versus two dominated genus in the gut of A. chlorotica. Notably, we identified a Rhodococcus strain, which is highly abundant in the gut of A. chlorotica. Previous studies reported Rhodococcus strains for their ability to degrade some group of pesticides. We suggest that the presence of this strain could contribute to the tolerance of A. chlorotica. Finally, we showed that the effect of ethyl-parathion on soil enzyme activities mainly depend on soil texture rather than the presence and/or the species of earthworms. According to our findings, it is of considerable importance to include more than one species to assess toxicity from organophosphorus insecticides, due to the interspecific differences that can occur within the same ecological category. Moreover, the identification and the functional analysis of the microorganisms found in the earthworm’s gut and able to intervene in pesticide detoxification could enhance our knowledge about the fate of the pesticide inside the organism, and could be an important tool for bioremediation program.
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Fatina Jouni. Synergistic interaction earthworm-microbiota : a role in the tolerance and detoxification of pesticides?. Agricultural sciences. Université d'Avignon, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018AVIG0699⟩. ⟨tel-02074579⟩

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