This research project aims to develop new ways of detecting systemic responses and health effects from exposure to organophosphate pesticides.
<p>In its report on Risk Assessment of Mixtures of Pesticides and Similar Substances, the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) recommended a need for the development of markers to enable early and reliable detection of systemic responses and health effects arising from such exposures (biomarkers of effect).
<p>This research project aims to develop novel effect biomarkers for organophosphate pesticide exposure.
The biomarkers are based on the well-characterised mechanism of organophosphate (OP) toxicity by acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibition through organophosphorylation of the serine residue at the enzyme's active site, and the fact that this mechanism occurs with other serine hydrolase enzymes.
<p>A specific immunochemical measurement of organophosphorylated-AChE blood samples is proposed as a more sensitive biomarker of anticholinergic effect rather than the current monitoring technique of identifying a decrease in AChE activity.
<p>The second approach is based on the measurement of organophosphorylated serine moieties reflecting the outcome of OP modification of AChE and other serine hydrolase enzymes.
<p>The investigators hypothesise that from turnover of such modified proteins, organophosphoryl-serine moieties will be excreted in urine, being unable to be used for amino acid recycling.
<p>Find more about this project and other FSA food safety-related projects at the <a href="http://www.food.gov.uk/science/research/" target="_blank">Food Standards Agency Research webpage</a>.