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Journal of Environmental Biology

pISSN: 0254-8704 ; eISSN: 2394-0379 ; CODEN: JEBIDP

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    Abstract - Issue Jan 2014, 35 (1)                                     Back

nstantaneous and historical temperature effects on a-pinene

Use of cholinesterase activity as a biomarker of pesticide exposure used on Costa Rican banana plantations in the native tropical fish Astyanax aeneus (GŁnther, 1860)


F. Mena1*, M. Azzopardi2, S. Pfennig, C. Ruepert1, M. Tedengren2, L.E. Castillo1 and J.S. Gunnarsson2

1Central American Institute for Studies onToxic Substances/Instituto Regional de Estudios en Sustancias

Tůxicas (IRET). Universidad Nacional, Campus Omar Dengo, 86-3000, Heredia, Costa Rica

2Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden

*Corresponding Author E-mail: 





 Publication Data

Paper received:

08 March 2013


Revised received:

12 June 2013



05 September 2013




In Costa Rica, thousands of tones of agricultural pesticides have been used for decades and their use is continuously increasing due to intensive and expanding production of coffee, pineapple, rice, ornamental plants and bananas.† The objective of this study was to evaluate whether choline esterase (ChE) activity could be used as a biomarker of exposure to pesticides in the Costa Rican native fish Astyanax aeneus (characidae). Three methods used in order to evaluate the ChE biomarker were as follows: Laboratory studies where A. aeneus was exposed to organophosphate pesticide (ethoprophos); In situ 48 hr exposure assessment using caging experiments with fish exposed upstream and downstream of banana plantations and ChE activity estimation of in fish captured directly at sites with different degrees of pesticide exposure. Results from the laboratory studies showed that ChE activity in both brain and muscle tissue was significantly lower in fish exposed to ethoprophos than in controls. Fish from the caging experiments showed no difference in ChE activity neither in brain nor in muscle tissue between the four tested sites and was attributed to the short duration of the exposure. A significant difference in ChE activity was determined in muscle of fish captured from Laguna Madre de Dios compared to fish from Canal BatŠn. Although our laboratory results revealed that ChE activity in A. aeneus was highly responsive to ethoprophos, results from field experiments were less conclusive and showed that the captured fish showed large variability in ChE activity and that more research is needed before ChE activity can be used as reliable biomarker of pesticide exposure.


Key words


Astyanax, Biomarker, Cholinesterase activity, Ethoprophos



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