Research Article

Genotoxic evaluation of the organophosphorous pesticide temephos

Abstract

The chemical compound temephos (0,0,0',0'-tetrametyl-0,0'-thiodi-p-phenylene phosphorothioate) is an organophosphorous pesticide that has been used in Brazil since 1967 in control campaigns against the mosquito Aedes aegypti, the vector of dengue and yellow fever. We used single cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE), SOS/umu and Ames/Salmonella assays to test the toxicity and mutagenicity of temephos. Temephos was genotoxic in the SCGE assay, inducing severe DNA lesions (type IV lesions) at doses above 1.34 µM. It was mutagenic, but not toxic, in the SOS/umu assay to Escherichia coli strain PQ37, but not to PQ35, at concentrations above 1.33 µM, particularly when the S9 mixture was not used in the assay. Temephos was not mutagenic in the Ames assay with S. typhimurium strains TA97, TA98, TA100 and TA102, both with and without metabolic activation. However, temephos at concentrations above 3.33 µM was mutagenic to TA98NR, YG7104 and YG7108, both with and without metabolic activation. In conclusion, temephos was genotoxic and mutagenic in all the three tests used, and in two of them at concentrations similar to those routinely used to combat Aedes aegypti.

The chemical compound temephos (0,0,0',0'-tetrametyl-0,0'-thiodi-p-phenylene phosphorothioate) is an organophosphorous pesticide that has been used in Brazil since 1967 in control campaigns against the mosquito Aedes aegypti, the vector of dengue and yellow fever. We used single cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE), SOS/umu and Ames/Salmonella assays to test the toxicity and mutagenicity of temephos. Temephos was genotoxic in the SCGE assay, inducing severe DNA lesions (type IV lesions) at doses above 1.34 µM. It was mutagenic, but not toxic, in the SOS/umu assay to Escherichia coli strain PQ37, but not to PQ35, at concentrations above 1.33 µM, particularly when the S9 mixture was not used in the assay. Temephos was not mutagenic in the Ames assay with S. typhimurium strains TA97, TA98, TA100 and TA102, both with and without metabolic activation. However, temephos at concentrations above 3.33 µM was mutagenic to TA98NR, YG7104 and YG7108, both with and without metabolic activation. In conclusion, temephos was genotoxic and mutagenic in all the three tests used, and in two of them at concentrations similar to those routinely used to combat Aedes aegypti.

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