Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 21, Issue 14, pp 8730–8739 | Cite as

DNA and chromosomal damage induced in fish (Anguilla anguilla L.) by aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA)—the major environmental breakdown product of glyphosate

  • S. Guilherme
  • M. A. Santos
  • I. Gaivão
  • M. Pacheco
Research Article


The assessment of the direct impact of breakdown products of pesticide components on aquatic wildlife is ecotoxicologically relevant, but frequently disregarded. In this context, the evaluation of the genotoxic hazard posed by aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA—the major natural degradation product of glyphosate) to fish emerges as a critical but unexplored issue. Hence, the main goal of the present research was to assess the AMPA genotoxic potential to fish following short-term exposures (1 and 3 days) to environmentally realistic concentrations (11.8 and 23.6 μg L−1), using the comet and erythrocytic nuclear abnormalities (ENA) assays, as reflecting different levels of damage, i.e. DNA and chromosomal damage, respectively. Overall, the present findings pointed out the genotoxic hazard of AMPA to fish and, subsequently, the importance of including it in future studies concerning the risk assessment of glyphosate-based herbicides in the water systems.


AMPA Glyphosate Genotoxicity DNA lesion-specific repair enzymes Fish 



This work was supported by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT; Government of Portugal) through the Research project PTDC/AAC-AMB/114123/2009 [co-financed by FCT/MCTES in its national budget component (PIDDAC) and by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through COMPETE—Thematic Factors of Competitiveness Operational Programme (POFC)] and the Post-doctoral fellowship SFRH/BPD/88947/2012, as well as by Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM).

Ethical statement

This study was conducted in accordance with the EU Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes, under the supervision of a team member (Mário Pacheco) authorised by the competent authorities.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Guilherme
    • 1
  • M. A. Santos
    • 1
  • I. Gaivão
    • 2
  • M. Pacheco
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology and CESAMUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.CECAV and Department of Genetics and BiotechnologyUniversity of Trás-os-Montes and Alto DouroVila RealPortugal

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