The Hidden Risks of Pesticides

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STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Exposure to low doses of atrazine leads to changes in the gut microbiota of wasps, increasing their resistance to pesticides
  • Researchers exposed wasps to atrazine at concentrations of 300 parts per billion, an amount meant to simulate the exposure level that would occur among pollinators visiting a field that was recently sprayed
  • Changes in gut microbiota occurred, Changes in gut microbiota occurred, including not only the herbicide atrazine but also glyphosate — a chemical to which the wasps had not been exposed
  • The microbial changes in the wasps’ guts persisted across successive generations, meaning that the wasps’ offspring were affected even though they weren’t exposed to atrazine
  • Host-microbiome interaction is not part of standard biorisk assessments for pesticides

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