Linking organochlorine exposure to biomarker response patterns in Anurans: a case study of Müller’s clawed frog (Xenopus muelleri) from a tropical malaria vector control region
Wolmarans, Nico J.
Du Preez, Louis H.
Smit, Nico J.
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Organochlorine pesticides are highly persistent in aquatic ecosystems. Amphibians, specifically anurans, play an intricate part in the aquatic food web, and have very permeable skin which makes them prone to bioaccumulation of persistent pollutants. In this study the bioaccumulation of various legacy organochlorine pesticides (OCPs)—including dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), currently used for malaria vector control (MVC)—was assessed along with a set of biomarker responses in Müller’s clawed frog Xenopus muelleri collected from the lower Phongolo River floodplain in South Africa. Possible relationships between bioaccumulation and biomarkers (of exposure, oxidative stress biomarkers, and cellular energy allocation) alongside their temporal changes were investigated. The OCP concentrations showed a significant increase over time for the duration of the study. The increase correlated negatively with rainfall from the region. DDT levels were well below expected effects levels with p,p-DDE being the main contributing metabolite. The results of this study indicate OCPs actively accumulate at sub-lethal levels in aquatic frogs from the study area, while showing possible relations towards some of the biochemical stress responses measured. Most notable were negative relationships indicated between p,p-DDE and acetylcholinesterase, malondialdehyde, and carbohydrates and protein energy availability. Levels of DDT were not found to be significantly higher than other legacy pesticides in the frog tissue, although evidence of newly introduced DDT in the frog tissue was found. Further investigation about sub-lethal effects of these pesticides on anurans is required to gain better insight into their full impact on animal livelihood