Reproductive toxicity due to herbicide exposure in freshwater organisms

Changwon Yang, Whasun Lim, Gwonhwa Song

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Excessively used pesticides in agricultural areas are spilled into aquatic environments, wherein they are suspended or sedimented. Owing to climate change, herbicides are the fastest growing sector of the pesticide industry and are detected in surface water, groundwater, and sediments near agricultural areas. In freshwater, organisms, including mussels, snails, frogs, and fish, are exposed to various types and concentrations of herbicides. Invertebrates are sensitive to herbicide exposure because their defense systems are incomplete. At the top of the food chain in freshwater ecosystems, fish show high bioaccumulation of herbicides. Herbicide exposure causes reproductive toxicity and population declines in freshwater organisms and further contamination of fish used for consumption poses a risk to human health. In addition, it is important to understand how environmental factors are physiologically processed and assess their impacts on reproductive parameters, such as gonadosomatic index and steroid hormone levels. Zebrafish is a good model for examining the effects of herbicides such as atrazine and glyphosate on embryonic development in freshwater fish. This review describes the occurrence and role of herbicides in freshwater environments and their potential implications for the reproduction and embryonic development of freshwater organisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109103
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part - C: Toxicology and Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (No. 2021R1A2C2005841 and No. 2021R1C1C1009807 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.


  • Atrazine
  • Freshwater
  • Glyphosate
  • Herbicides
  • Reproduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Toxicology
  • Cell Biology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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