Concentration and timing of application reveal strong fungistatic effect of tebuconazole in a Daphnia-microparasitic yeast model

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Cuco, A. P. ; Santos, J. I. ; Abrantes, N. ; Gonçalves, F. ; Castro, Bruno B. (2017)

Given the importance of pollutant effects on host-parasite relationships and disease spread, the main goal of this study was to assess the influence of different exposure scenarios for the fungicide tebuconazole (concentration × timing of application) on a Daphnia-microparasitic yeast experimental system. Previous results had demonstrated that tebuconazole is able to suppress Metschnikowia bicuspidata infection at ecologically-relevant concentrations; here, we aimed to obtain an understanding of the mechanism underlying the anti-parasitic (fungicidal or fungistatic) action of tebuconazole. We exposed the Daphnia-yeast system to four nominal tebuconazole concentrations at four timings of application (according to the predicted stage of parasite development), replicated on two Daphnia genotypes, in a fully crossed experiment. An “all-or-nothing” effect was observed, with tebuconazole completely suppressing infection from 13.5 µg l -1 upwards, independent of the timing of tebuconazole application. A follow-up experiment confirmed that the suppression of infection occurred within a narrow range of tebuconazole concentrations (3.65–13.5 µg l -1 ), although a later application of the fungicide had to be compensated for by a slight increase in concentration to elicit the same anti-parasitic effect. The mechanism behind this anti-parasitic effect seems to be the inhibition of M. bicuspidata sporulation, since tebuconazole was effective in preventing ascospore production even when applied at a later time. However, this fungicide also seemed to affect the vegetative growth of the yeast, as demonstrated by the enhanced negative effect of the parasite (increasing mortality in one of the host genotypes) at a later time of application of tebuconazole, when no signs of infection were observed. Fungicide contamination can thus affect the severity and spread of disease in natural populations, as well as the inherent co-evolutionary dynamics in host-parasite systems. ERDF -European Regional Development Fund(IF/01198/2014) info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion
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