Ecotoxicology and environmental safety

Different effects of subchronic exposure to low concentrations of the organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos in a freshwater gastropod.

PMID 23321362


Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide used for pest control on a number of food crops in many parts of the world. In recent years, there has been an important decrease in the number of organisms of Planorbarius corneus. Since the presence of pesticides in the water can be one of the reasons for this decrease, it is very important to study the effect of subchronic exposure to environmental concentrations of pesticides on these organisms. The aim of the present work was to investigate different effects of the subchronic exposure to low concentrations of the organophosphate chlorpyrifos in P. corneus and the possibility to use these as biomarkers. To this end, we have exposed the organisms to 0.4 and 5 μg L(-1) of chlorpyrifos for 14 days and recorded the number of egg masses, the number of eggs per mass, the number of eggs without embryo, the time for hatching, and the % of hatching and survival. We have also determined the activities of cholinesterases, carboxylesterases and glutathione S-transferase in whole organism soft tissue and in the gonads. A 14 days exposure to 0.4 μg L(-1) caused an increase in the number of egg masses without eggs and a decrease in carboxylesterases measured with p-nitrophenyl butyrate. However the exposure to 5 μg L(-1) also caused an increase in the time for hatching, a decrease in the % of hatching and survival and also inhibition of cholinesterases and carboxylesterases with p-nitrophenyl acetate and butyrate. In contrast, the glutathione S-transferase has not been modified with the tested concentrations. We concluded that when P. corneus exposed to chlorpyrifos for 14 days, the CES determined with p-nitrophenyl butyrate proved to be the most sensitive biomarker. However, exposure to environmental concentrations showed a decrease in the reproduction ability which could cause a decrease in the number of organisms of this species.