Persistent Organochlorine Pesticide Residues in Tissues and Eggs of White-Backed Vulture, Gyps bengalensis from Different Locations in India

  • S. Muralidharan
  • V. Dhananjayan
  • Robert Risebrough
  • V. Prakash
  • R. Jayakumar
  • Peter H. Bloom


Organochlorine pesticide residues were determined in tissues of five Indian white-backed vultures and two of their eggs collected from different locations in India. All the samples had varying levels of residues. p,p′-DDE ranged between 0.002 μg/g in muscle of vulture from Mudumali and 7.30 μg/g in liver of vulture from Delhi. Relatively higher levels of p,p-DDT and its metabolites were documented in the bird from Delhi than other places. Dieldrin was 0.003 and 0.015 μg/g while p,p-DDE was 2.46 and 3.26 μg/g in egg one and two respectively. Dieldrin appeared to be lower than the threshold level of 0.5 μg/g. p,p-DDE exceeded the levels reported to have created toxic effects in eggs of other wild birds. Although varying levels of DDT, HCH, dieldrin, heptachlor epoxide and endosulfan residues were detected in the vulture tissues, they do not appear to be responsible for the present status of population in India.


Organochlorine pesticide Indian white-backed vulture Tissues Eggs Threshold levels 



We express sincere gratitude to the Chief Wildlife Warden, Punjab and Wildlife Warden, Mudumalai for permitting collection of carcasses, and Mr. Karthik Sastri, for his efforts in sending the carcass from Ahmedabad. Dr. V S Vijayan, Founder Director, Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History, Coimbatore extended financial support from the institute’s R & D funds. We appreciate S Patturajan’s assistance in all our laboratory works.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Muralidharan
    • 1
  • V. Dhananjayan
    • 1
  • Robert Risebrough
    • 2
  • V. Prakash
    • 3
  • R. Jayakumar
    • 1
  • Peter H. Bloom
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of EcotoxicologySálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural HistoryCoimbatoreIndia
  2. 2.Bodega Bay Research InstituteBerkeleyUSA
  3. 3.Bombay Natural History and SocietyHornbill HouseBombayIndia
  4. 4.Bloom Biological Inc.Santa AnaUSA

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