Biochemical biomarkers were used in ecological risk assessment of pesticide exposure. The experiments were carried out on six weeks old poultry birds (Gallus domesticus) weighing between 400 and 600 g (12 birds) and were divided into four groups of three birds each. The poultry birds were exposed for four weeks to different concentrations (1, 5 and 10%) of a locally manufactured insect powder called ‘Rambo’ which contains 0.6% permethrin. The control group had no pesticide added to their feed. Results of the experiment showed a significant increase (p < 0.05) in the activity of Alanine transaminase (ALT) at 5% (42.00 ± 1.00 IU/L) and 10% (42.67 ± 1.00 IU/L) pesticide contamination, when compared with the control (37.00 ± 1.00 IU/L). Aspartate transminase (AST) activity was significantly higher (p < 0.05) at 10% pesticide contamination (12.33 ± 0.66 IU/L) as against the control, whereas alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity was significantly (p < 0.05) at all levels of pesticide contamination when compared with the control. There were no significant differences (p> 0.05) in the levels of total and conjugate bilirubin and creatinine between the treatments and the control, while urea showed significant difference at 5 (22.38 ± 0.42 mg/dl) and 10% (25.39 ± 0.50 mg/dl) pesticide contamination, respectively. Lipid peroxidation and lactate dehydrogenase showed significant differences at all levels of pesticide contamination, indicating possible oxidative stress. As such, results of this experiment support the use of biochemical biomarkers in the ecological risk assessment of pesticide contaminated environment.
Key words: Biochemical biomarkers, ecological risk assessment, pesticide contamination, non-target animals, poultry birds.
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