Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 173, Issue 1–4, pp 803–811 | Cite as

Distribution of persistent organochlorine chemical residues in blood plasma of three species of vultures from India

  • Venugopal Dhananjayan
  • Subramanian Muralidharan
  • Palanisamy Jayanthi


The presence of persistent organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were determined in blood plasma of white-backed vulture Gyps bengalensis, Egyptian vulture Neophron percnopterus, and griffon vulture Gyps fulvus collected from Ahmedabad, India. All the samples had varying levels of organochlorine pesticides and PCBs. Statistically significant (P < 0.05) differences among species were detected for beta-hexachlorocyclohexane (β-HCH), ∑HCH, and dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT). The mean concentration of ∑HCH, ∑DDT, and ∑PCBs among plasma ranged from 43.7 to 136, 8.8 to 64.8, and 226 to 585 ng/ml, respectively. Among the various OCPs analyzed, 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethylene (p,p -DDE) was detected most frequently. The concentrations of cyclodiene insecticides detected were lower than the other organochlorine residues. The levels of pesticides measured in plasma samples of three species of vulture were comparable to the results documented for a number of avian species and were lower than those reported to have deleterious effects on survival or reproduction of birds. Although no threat is posed by any of the organochlorine pesticides detected, continuous monitoring of breeding colonies is recommended. This study is also the first account of a comprehensive analysis of toxicants present in blood plasma of vulture species in India. The values reported in this study can serve as guidelines for future research in general as well as control values during the analysis of samples obtained from birds in the event of suspected organochlorine poisoning.


Organochlorine pesticides PCBs Blood plasma Egyptian vulture Griffon vulture White-backed vulture 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Venugopal Dhananjayan
    • 1
  • Subramanian Muralidharan
    • 2
  • Palanisamy Jayanthi
    • 2
  1. 1.Regional Occupational Health CentreIndian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)BangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Division of EcotoxicologySálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural HistoryCoimbatoreIndia

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