To study whether the intensity of agricultural activities affects pesticides loads in pond environment, a large number of Belgian farmland ponds were surveyed in spring 2004. Temporal distribution of pollutants was also investigated over restricted survey ponds sampled three times round year 2007. Sedentary pond Prussian carp juveniles were also captured to determine their brain aromatase activity (AA) and plasma vitellogenin (VTG) levels. Heavy metal distribution was also examined in various pond matrices. Amongst the pesticides analysed, only herbicides were detected. Contamination of pond water by atrazine was frequently observed during spring 2004, while isoproturon and glyphosate were detected round year 2007. Levels of herbicides were inversely related to the distance of ponds to crop field, and values peaked in April or October. Absence of endocrine disruptors in pond water was confirmed by lack of modulation in VTG and AA in male fish. Heavy metals were present in all the pond matrices, but overall contamination levels were low. The results demonstrated that Belgian ponds were mainly contaminated by herbicides and that pond sedentary fish were not affected by endocrine disruptors. They also demonstrated a marked effect of land-use intensity on herbicide pollution which can be mitigated by an adjustment of the buffer zones.
|Publication status||Published - 2014|