Aquatic toxicology (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Exposure of the cyanobacterium Nostoc muscorum from Portuguese rice fields to Molinate (Ordram(®)): Effects on the antioxidant system and fatty acid profile.

PMID 21216347


Herbicide contamination of aquatic ecosystems is a serious global environmental concern. Several herbicides enhance the intracellular formation of reactive oxygen species, and can lead to the damage of macromolecules and to a decrease of oxidant defenses in a wide range of non-target microorganisms including cyanobacteria. The effects of molinate (a thiocarbamate herbicide used for controlling grassy weeds in rice fields) on the activities of antioxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, ascorbate peroxidase, glutathione reductase, and glutathione S-transferase were evaluated in Nostoc muscorum, a freshwater cyanobacterium with a significant spread in Portuguese rice fields. These were determined in N. muscorum cultures acutely (72h) exposed to concentrations ranging from 0.75 to 2mM of molinate. This study also analyzed the effects of molinate on: (1) the nonenzymatic antioxidant contents (reduced and oxidized glutathione, carotenoids, and proline), (2) the oxidative cell damage measured in terms of lipid peroxidation (MDA level) and electrolyte leakage (intactness of plasma membrane), and (3) the total fatty acid profile. The results showed that the activities of all antioxidant enzymes decreased dramatically with the rising concentration of molinate after 72h. Time-dependent and concentration-dependent increase in MDA and enhanced cell membrane leakage were indicative of lipid peroxidation, formation of free radicals and oxidative damage. Compared to control, 72-h herbicide exposure increased lipid peroxidation by 5.4%, 19% and 28% with 0.75, 1.5 and 2mM of molinate, respectively. Similarly, herbicide stress induced an increase in electrolyte leakage (5.8%, 29.5% and 30.2% above control, with 0.75, 1.5 and 2mM of molinate, respectively). The increased production of proline at higher molinate concentrations (the values rose above control by 45%, 95% and 156% with 0.75, 1.5 and 2mM, respectively) indicated the involvement of this osmoprotectant in a free radical scavenging mechanism. Moreover, a radical decline in both glutathione pool, carotenoids and saturated fatty acids were also observed. The results of the present study lead us to conclude that: (1) both enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidative defense system of N. muscorum are dramatically affected by molinate, (2) the herbicide induces peroxidation, (3) it contributes to an increase of the unsaturation level of cell membrane fatty acids. These evidences should be taken in account when using N. muscorum as an environmental indicator species in studies of herbicide biotransformation and biomarker response as well as in environmental monitoring programmes.

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Molinate, PESTANAL®, analytical standard