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Developing diagnostic tools (biomarkers) for fish exposed to pesticides

Description

In Canada, as in elsewhere in the world, pesticides are widely used in agriculture. In the south-western region of Quebec, the rivers that flow through highly farmed areas carry pesticides to Lac Saint-Pierre. This ecosystem boasts great biodiversity, but for several years now the perch population has been in decline.

In 2013, the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec implemented a project to explore the causes for this decline. The research focused on the structure of the population, as well as histology of the liver, the rate of parasitism and biomarkers of oxidative stress. Preliminary results encouraged the ministries to conduct more sampling in 2014 in order to repeat the biomarker analysis.

This study will enhance the project currently underway by measuring additional biomarkers, performing in vitro testing on the cells and larvae of fish to identify the toxicity threshold for the pesticides of primary concern, by performing additional analyses of surface water to identify the chronic concentrations to which the fish are exposed in the natural environment, and by adding a year of sampling in 2015. The following pesticides are being analysed: atrazine, glyphosate and neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam).

Field samples will provide information about the physiological targets of pesticides while the in vitro tests will focus on the mechanisms of action. But above all, the results obtained will help administrators make decisions regarding protection of the environment and of fishery resources.

Program Name

National Contaminants Advisory Group (NCAG)

Year(s)

2014 - 2017

Ecoregion(s)

Central Canada: Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Freshwater Drainage Basin

Principal Investigator(s)

Monique Boily
Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences and TOXEN Research Centre
Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal (Quebec)

Team Member(s)

Matias Attene-Ramos, Department of Biological Sciences and TOXEN Research Centre, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal (Quebec)

Philip Spear, Department of Biological Sciences and TOXEN Research Centre, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal (Quebec)

Jonathan Verreault, Department of Biological Sciences and TOXEN Research Centre, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal (Quebec)

Andrea Bertolo, Department of Environmental Sciences, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Trois-Rivières (Quebec)

Collaborating Government Department(s)

Philippe Brodeur, Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, Trois-Rivières (Quebec)

Magali Houde, Environment Canada, Montreal (Quebec)

Isabelle Giroux, Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les Changements climatiques, Québec (Quebec)

Denis Laliberté, Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les Changements climatiques, Québec (Quebec)

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