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African Journal of Biotechnology

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Glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity as a biomarker in ecological risk assessment of pesticide contaminated environment

O Otitoju, INE Onwurah

Abstract


The behaviour and fate of pesticides in the environment will determine their impact on both humans and non-target organisms. Biochemical biomarkers are increasingly used in ecological risk assessment
to identify the incidence of exposure to and effects caused by xenobiotics. This study was undertaken to investigate the potential toxic effect of a locally produced insect powder called “Rambo” (which
contain 0.6% permethrin) on non-target organisms exemplified with albino rats. The results obtained showed that glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity in the newly-weaned rats (NWR) and middle-aged
rats (MAR) groups were found to increase significantly (p<0.05) in the liver homogenates at the concentrations used (1, 5 and 10%) compared with their parallel controls. In the plasma and brain
homogenates, a decrease in GST activity was observed, this decrease was significant (p<0.05) in the brain homogenates, but in the blood plasma the decrease in GST activity was not significant (p>0.05).
However, the highest GST activity (398.44 ± 23.44) U/L was recorded in the liver homogenates while the least activity (9.07 ± 3.44) U/L was obtained in the plasma sample. The significance of such a decrease
in intracellular GST is that, protection against reactive intermediates may be lost and thus affect vital metabolic processes that may result to death. This shows that GST can be used as a biomarker in
ecological risk assessment of pesticide contaminated environment.



AJOL African Journals Online