An integrative omics approach to unravel toxicity mechanisms of environmental chemicals: effects of a formulated herbicide

Tiago Simões*, Sara C. Novais, Tiago Natal-da-Luz, Bart Devreese, Tjalf de Boer, Dick Roelofs, José P. Sousa, Nico M. van Straalen, Marco F.L. Lemos

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    The use of integrative molecular approaches can aid in a comprehensive understanding of the effects of toxicants at different levels of biological organization, also supporting risk assessment. The present study aims to unravel the toxicity mechanisms of a widely used herbicide to the arthropod Folsomia candida exposed in a natural soil, by linking effects on reproduction, proteomics and genome-wide gene expression. The EC50 effects on reproduction over 4 weeks was 4.63 mg glyphosate/kg of soil. The formulation included a polyethoxylated tallowamine as an adjuvant, which at 50% effect on reproduction had an estimated concentration of 0.87–1.49 mg/kg of soil. No effects were observed on survival and reproduction when using the isolated active substance, pointing the toxicity of the formulated product to the co-formulant instead of the active ingredient, glyphosate. RNA sequencing and shotgun proteomics were applied to assess differential transcript and protein expressions between exposed and control organisms in time, respectively. Specific functional categories at protein and transcriptome levels were concordant with each other, despite overall limited correlations between datasets. The exposure to this formulation affected normal cellular respiration and lipid metabolism, inducing oxidative stress and leading to impairment in biological life cycle mechanisms such as molting and reproduction.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number11376
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalScientific Reports
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2018


    This study had the support of FCT, through strategic project UID/MAR/04292/2013, project ENVIRONOME (PTDC/AGR-PRO/3496/2012 - POCI-01-0145-FEDER-016773), and grants awarded to T.S. (SFRH/ BD/98266/2013), S.N. (SFRH/BPD/94500/2013), and T.N.L. (SFRH/BPD/110943/2015). D.R. received financial support from BE-BASIC project F08.001.03 and EU FP7 Sustainable Nanotechnologies project (SUN, grant number 604305). The authors also acknowledge the help provided by Isabel Vandenberghe, Gonzalez Van Driessche and Riet Vooijs.

    FundersFunder number
    National Cancer InstituteR21CA094500
    Seventh Framework Programme604305
    Fundação para a Ciência e a TecnologiaPTDC/AGR-PRO/3496/2012, SFRH/BPD/110943/2015, SFRH/BPD/94500/2013, SFRH/ BD/98266/2013, UID/MAR/04292/2013, PTDC/AGR-PRO/3496/2012 - POCI-01-0145-FEDER-016773, F08.001.03
    Seventh Framework Programme


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