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Plant-based biopesticides have become an eco-friendly alternative to synthetic pesticides by reducing the undesired environmental impacts and side-effects on human health. However, their effects on the environment and especially on non-target organisms have been little studied. This study analyses the ecotoxicological effects of the extract of Lavandula luisieri on soil non-target organisms from different trophic levels: the earthworm Eisenia fetida, the plant Allium cepa and a natural-soil microbial community whose taxonomy was analysed through 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The extract tested is the hydrolate -product from a semi industrial steam distillation process- of a Spanish pre-domesticated variety of L. luisieri. This hydrolate has been recently shown to have bionematicide activity against the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne javanica. A previous study showed that the main components of the hydrolate are camphor and 2,3,4,4-Tetramethyl-5-methylidenecyclopent-2-en-1-one. Hydrolate caused acute toxicity (LC 2.2% v/v) on A. cepa, while only a slight toxicity on E. fetida (LC > 0.4 mL/g). All the concentrations tested (from 1 to 100% v/v) caused a significant decrease in bacterial growth (LC 9.8% v/v after 120 h of exposure). The physiological diversity of the community was also significantly altered, except in the case of the lowest concentration of hydrolate (1% v/v). The ability of soil microbial communities to use a variety of carbon sources increased for all substrates at the highest concentrations. These results show that both the plants and bacterial communities of the soil can be affected by the application of biopesticides based on these hydrolates, which highlights the need for a more detailed risk assessment during the development of plant-based products.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: The Science of the total environment
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Organisms whose GENOME has been changed by a GENETIC ENGINEERING technique.
Organisms that live in water.
A plant genus of the LAMIACEAE family.
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