NILU - The Norwegian Institute for Air Research

Cattle egrets as a biosentinels of persistent organic pollutants exposure


We investigated selected chlorinated pollutants (β-HCH, γ-HCH, DDDs, DDEs, o,p′-DDT, p,p′-DDT, heptachlor, aldrin, dieldrin, and endrin) in the Lahore and the Sialkot districts of Pakistan, using eggs of cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) collected during May and June 2007. The pollutant with highest level and frequency was ΣDDT, followed by β-HCH, γ-HCH, heptachlor, aldrin, dieldrin, and endrin in descending order. The concentration(s) were significantly higher in Sialkot heronry for all the pollutants (except p,p′-DDT) than in Lahore. The values for DDTs, β-HCH, γ-HCH, and heptachlor were significantly higher (p < 0.05) in the egg(s) than in sediment(s) and in the chicks’ diet, due to biomagnification. Among DDTs analogues, p,p′-DDD was the major contaminant with >60 % of total DDT burden, reflecting the widespread aged as well as recent use of DDT as well as anaerobic degradation (DDD/DDE > 1 in many cases) in the nearby paddy soils. In few samples, p,p′-DDT/(DDD + DDE) > 0.5 suggested the recent emission patterns from surrounding contaminated areas of demolished DDT units and obsolete pesticide stores. The higher levels of HCHs (i.e., β-HCH) in the samples collected from Sialkot indicate exposure from long-term agricultural use. Overall, concentrations of all studied POPs were less than the threshold levels known to affect reproduction. Nevertheless, total DDTs and/or HCHs burdens in some eggs contained concentrations of greater than what would educe adverse effects on birds. This is among few studies on OCPs exposure to avian species, which provide the evidence of Pakistan’s contribution toward the Global POPs emission.

Customer comments

No comments were found for Cattle egrets as a biosentinels of persistent organic pollutants exposure. Be the first to comment!