John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Co‐extracted dissolved organic carbon has a suppressive effect on the acetylcholinesterase inhibition assay

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The acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibition assay is frequently applied to detect organophosphates and carbamate pesticides in different water types, including dissolved organic carbon (DOC) rich wastewater and surface water. The aim of the present study was to quantify the effect of co‐extracted DOC from different water samples on the commonly used enzyme based AChE inhibition assay. Approximately 40‐70% of DOC is typically recovered by solid phase extraction and this comprises not only of organic micropollutants but also natural organic matter. The inhibition of the water extracts in the assay differed greatly from the expected mixture effects based on chemical analysis of organophosphates and carbamates. Binary mixture experiments with the known AChE inhibitor parathion and the water extracts showed reduced toxicity in comparison with predictions using the mixture models of concentration addition and independent action. In addition, the extracts and reference organic matter had a suppressive effect on a constant concentration of parathion. The present study thus indicated that concentrations of DOC as low as 2 mg of carbon per litre (mgC/L) can impair the AChE inhibition assay and consequently only samples with a final DOC concentration of less than 2 mgC/L are suitable for this assay. To check for potential suppression in environmental samples, standard addition experiments using an AChE inhibiting reference compound are recommended. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. © 2013 SETAC

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