Evaluation of genotoxic and cytotoxic properties of pesticides employed in italian agricultural practices
Sommaire de l'article
In a program coordinated by the Italian Ministry of Works, we tested in vitro four pesticides widely employed in a developed agricultural region of central Italy. The four commercial agents were chosen on the basis of their diffusion in agricultural practice, knowledge of their active principle(s), and scant availability of data concerning their toxic and genotoxic activity. The agents were Cirtoxin, Decis, Tramat Combi (TC), and Lasso Micromix (LM). All substances were tested in three in vitro systems: Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells, a metabolically competent hamster cell line (Chinese hamster epithelial liver; CHEL), and root tips of Vicia faba (VF). The cytotoxic and genotoxic end points challenged were micronuclei and root tip length (RTL) in VF and mitotic index (MI), proliferation index (PI), cell survival (CS), cell growth (CG), cell cycle length (CCL), sister chromatid exchanges, chromosomal aberrations, and single-cell gel electrophoresis, or comet assay, in CHEL and CHO cells. Tested doses ranged from the field dose up to 200x the field dose to take into account accumulation effects. On the whole, tested agents appear to induce genotoxic damage only at subtoxic or toxic doses, indicating a low clastogenic risk. MI, PI, CS, CG, RTL, and CCL appear to be the less sensitive end points, showing no effects in the presence of a clear positive response in some or all of the other tests. Using cytogenetic tests, we obtained positive results for TC and LM treatments in CHO but not in CHEL cells. These data could be accounted for by postulating a detoxifying activity exerted by this cell line. However, cytogenetic end points appear to be more sensitive than those referring to cytotoxicity.