Effects of organophosphate compounds on a soil protist, Colpoda inflata (Ciliophora, Colpodidae)

Francesca Trielli, Maria Giovanna Chessa, Andrea Amaroli, Marzia Ognibene, Maria Umberta Delmonte Corrado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many investigations on protists indicate that they play an important role in agricultural soils. We have tested the effects of three organophosphate (OP) pesticides, basudin, cidial, and fenix, on the soil ciliate Colpoda inflata, and examined its viability, fission rate, ability to excyst and extrude macronuclear chromatin into cytoplasm. Exposure to these OPs caused a dose-dependent effect on cell viability, and significantly reduced the mean fission rate at a concentration of 1/105 v/v. After exposure of resting cysts to 1/105 v/v or 1/106 v/v concentrations of basudin or cidial, the number of excysted cells was significantly lower than that of the controls. Conversely, exposure to a 1/105 v/v fenix concentration did not affect excystment and exposure to 1/106 v/v was found to promote excystment. Moreover, exposure to these OPs (1/104 v/v or 1/105 v/v) interferred with the ability to extrude macronuclear chromatin. The median lethal concentration in 60 min for each OPs tested was at least a hundred times lower than the doses recommended by the manufacturer. Finally, as the inhibition of cholinesterase (ChE) activity is the first target of OPs, the presence of ChE activity was checked in C. inflata. Three ChE activities were found, hydrolyzing the substrates acetyl-β-methyl thiocholine iodide, propionyl thiocholine iodide and butyryl thiocholine iodide, that appeared to be very low and not inhibited by OP-exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1731-1737
Number of pages7
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006


  • Cholinesterase activities
  • Neurotoxic compounds
  • Protista
  • Resting cyst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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