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Earthworm biomarker responses on exposure to commercial cypermethrin



Cypermethrin is a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide used worldwide in agriculture, home pest control, disease vector control, and food safety. It accumulates in soil. Therefore, traces of cypermethrin may frequently appear in vegetables grown in contaminated soil. There is a push now to develop biomarkers as early warning indicators of environmental pollution. In this study, DNA damage (tail DNA%, tail length, and olive tail moment), the micronucleus, neutral red retention (NRR) time, and pinocytic adherence ability of coelomocytes were investigated in Pheretima peguana earthworms exposed to cypermethrin in filter paper tests. The NRR time of earthworm coelomocytes decreased significantly at a concentration of 3.5 × 10−3 µg · cm−2 (1/100 LC50) after 48 h exposure, with a highly negative correlation with cypermethrin concentration. Pinocytic adherence ability of coelomocytes also declined significantly at a cypermethrin concentration of 3.5 × 10−2 µg · cm−2 (1/10 LC50). The DNA damage to earthworm coelomocytes (tail DNA%, tail length, and olive tail moment) increased considerably at the highest concentration (3.5 × 10−1 µg · cm−2) although the correlation between tail DNA% and cypermethrin concentration was low. Thus, physiological biomarkers were more sensitive than the genotoxic effects in earthworms exposed to commercial cypermethrin. Although a suite of earthworm biomarkers could be used to evaluate cypermethrin terrestrial pollution, the NRR test is easier to conduct and a more sensitive indicator. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol 30: 597–606, 2015.