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Evaluation of the joint toxicity of chlorpyrifos ethyl and fenobucarb on climbing perch (Anabas testudineus) from rice fields in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam


Organophosphates (e.g. chlorpyrifos ethyl) and carbamates (e.g. fenobucarb) are commonly used to control a wide range of pests in rice fields of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. This study assesses the combined effect of chlorpyrifos ethyl (CPF) and fenobucarb (F), applied at concentrations used by rice farmers, on the brain acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity in climbing perch fingerlings from rice fields in the Mekong Delta. It also investigates if Pyridine-2-aldoxime methiodide (2-PAM) can be used to reactivate cholinesterase that has been blocked by CPF. Three days after spraying, the water concentrations of both insecticides decreased quickly below the detection levels. However, the brain AChE activity in fish was inhibited for more than 7 days. The results indicate a quicker but less prolonged inhibition of the brain AChE activity by the mixture than by only CPF. The inhibition levels were above 70 % only during the first 48 h, which could explain why all fish survived. 2-PAM resulted in a significant reactivation of the cholinesterase blocked by a combination of CPF and F, and it is proposed that the reactivation by 2-PAM could provide a way to assess the AChE inhibition levels in organisms, when no unexposed individuals are available as controls. The results indicate that the current use of CPF and F in rice farming in the Mekong Delta is likely to cause negative effects on non-target organisms. Many of these effects may be sub-lethal, and there is a need to develop biomarkers that are relevant, inexpensive and easy to apply. The results show that brain AChE in climbing perch fingerling is a relevant biomarker for monitoring of exposure to, and sub-lethal impacts from organophosphates and carbamates under tropical conditions in developing countries.

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This study was made with financial support from Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) (Ref. No. AKT2010-010) through the Partner Driven Cooperation (PDC) project “Managing Ecosystem Services for Sustainable Aquaculture Development. The study also funded by the Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam (Ref. No 4069/QĐ-BGDĐT). The manuscript was improved with valuable comments from three reviewers.

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Correspondence to Nguyen Thanh Tam.

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Tam, N.T., Berg, H. & Van Cong, N. Evaluation of the joint toxicity of chlorpyrifos ethyl and fenobucarb on climbing perch (Anabas testudineus) from rice fields in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Environ Sci Pollut Res 25, 13226–13234 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-016-6980-y

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  • Anabas testudineus
  • Chlorpyrifos ethyl
  • Fenobucarb
  • Mixture
  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Mekong Delta