Metabolic Profiling of Chloroacetanilide Herbicides in Earthworm Coelomic Fluid Using 1H NMR and GC–MS

Earthworms (Eisenia fetida) are vital members of the soil environment. Because of their sensitivity to many contaminants, monitoring earthworm metabolism may be a useful indicator of environmental stressors. Here, metabolic profiles of exposure to five chloroacetanilide herbicides and one enantiomer (acetochlor, alachlor, butachlor, racemic metolachlor, S-metolachlor, and propachlor) are observed in earthworm coelomic fluid using proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS). Multiblocked-orthogonal partial least-squares-discriminant analysis (MB-OPLS-DA) and univariate analysis were used to identify metabolic perturbations in carnitine biosynthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, lipid metabolism, nitrogen metabolism, and the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Intriguingly, stereospecific metabolic responses were observed between racemic metolachlor and S-metolachlor exposed worms. These findings support the utility of coelomic fluid in monitoring metabolic perturbations induced by chloroacetanilide herbicides in nontarget organisms and reveal specificity in the metabolic impacts of herbicide analogues in earthworms.