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Environ Toxicol Chem. 2003 May;22(5):1134-9.

Exposure of small mammals, in particular the wood mouse Apodemus sylvaticus, to pesticide seed treatments.

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Bayer CropScience, 2 TW Alexander Drive, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.


Field exposure of small mammals to fungicide-treated wheat seed was investigated over three weeks following drilling on fields near York, United Kingdom. Seed consumption by small mammals trapped on and immediately adjacent to the drilled fields was quantified by measuring the amount of seed in the stomach. In addition, exposure to one seed-treatment, fluquinconazole, was quantified by measuring residues of the fungicide in the stomach, liver, and intestine. The wood mouse, Apodemus sylvaticus, was the dominant species caught on the fields and the only species found to have consumed measurable quantities of seed. Voles, Microtus agrestis and Clethrionomys glareolus, were caught in small numbers, almost exclusively in the field hedge, and showed no evidence of having consumed seed. Stomach-contents analysis revealed that more than 80% of animals trapped in the hedge adjacent to the field had consumed no wheat seed, whereas 98% had consumed less than 10% (by stomach volume). Ninety percent of animals trapped on the field had consumed seed, although 90% of these animals had less than 20% seed in the stomach. Residues of the fungicide in the stomach, intestine, and liver were lower than would be expected for the amount of seed consumed, possibly because of dehusking of the seeds by mice. The relevance of these findings when assessing exposure (and risk) posed by seed treatments to wild mammals is discussed.

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