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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Acetylcholinesterase Toxicity of Malathion and Its Metabolites1


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 2 No. 4, p. 474-475
    Received: Feb 28, 1973

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  1. W. W. Walker and
  2. B. J. Stojanovic2



Malathion, under in vitro laboratory conditions, is readily degraded by an Arthrobacter species to four metabolites—malathion half-ester, malathion dicarboxylic acid, potassium dimethyl phosphorothioate, and potassium dimethyl phosphorodithioate. However, it is not clear whether or not this degradation represents a simultaneous detoxication of the malathion molecule. With this in mind, the relative toxicity of each of the four metabolites to bovine acetylcholinesterase was determined manometrically with the Warburg apparatus. Malathion half-ester retained roughly one-third the enzyme toxicity of unaltered malathion, while the other metabolites showed essentially no enzyme inhibition. It was concluded that while microbial conversion of malathion to malathion halfester may well represent complete malathion degradation, it does not constitute complete insecticide detoxication.

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