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Effects of co-formulants on the absorption and secretion of active substances in plant protection products in vitro

Karaca, Mawien; Fischer, Benjamin Christian; Willenbockel, Christian Tobias; Tralau, Tewes; Marx-Stoelting, Philip; Bloch, Denise

Currently, the authorisation process for plant protection products (PPPs) relies on the testing of acute and topological toxicity only. Contrastingly, the evaluation of active substances includes a more comprehensive set of toxicity studies. Nevertheless, mixture effects of active ingredients and co-formulants may result in increased toxicity. Therefore, we investigated effects of surface active co-formulants on the toxicity of two PPPs focussing on qualitative and quantitative toxicokinetic effects on absorption and secretion. The respective products are based on the active substances abamectin and fluroxypyr-meptyl and were tested for cytotoxicity in the presence or absence of the corresponding surfactants and co-formulants using Caco-2 cells. In addition, the effect of co-formulants on increased cellular permeation was quantified using LC–MS/MS, while potential kinetic mixture effects were addressed by fluorescence anisotropy measurements and ATPase assays. The results show that surface active co-formulants significantly increase the cytotoxicity of the investigated PPPs, leading to more than additive mixture effects. Moreover, analytical investigations show higher efflux ratios of both active substances and the metabolite fluroxypyr upon combination with certain concentrations of the surfactants. The results further point to a significant and concentration-dependent inhibition of Pgp transporters by most of the surfactants as well as to increased membrane fluidity. Altogether, these findings strongly support the hypothesis that surfactants contribute to increased cytotoxicity of PPPs and do so by increasing the bioavailability of the respective active substances.
Published in: Archives of Toxicology, 10.1007/s00204-021-03140-x, Springer Nature