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Chemosphere. 2004 Apr;55(2):283-90.

Recovery of acetylcholine esterase activity of Drawida willsi (Oligochaeta) following application of three pesticides to soil.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Sciences, Sambalpur University, Jyotivihar, Orissa 768019, India.


The recovery of acetylcholine esterase (AChE) activity of a dominant crop field earthworm (Drawida willsi, Michaelsen) was investigated under laboratory conditions following the application of two recommended agricultural (single and double) doses of butachlor (1.1 and 2.2 dry soil), malathion (2.2 and 4.4 dry soil) and carbofuran (1.1 and 2.2 dry soil) to the soil. A sharp decline in the AChE activity of D. willsi was observed up to 9 and 12 days following treatment of carbofuran and malathion in both single and double doses, respectively, whereas very little inhibition was noticed in case of butachlor. D. willsi worms took 45 and 75 days to resume normal AChE activity after exposure to both single and double doses of malathion and carbofuran, respectively. Earlier [Soil Biol. Biochem. 31 (1999) 363-366], [Ph.D. thesis, Sambalpur University, Orissa, India, 2003] and [Pedobiologia (spl. issue), in press] reported that D. willsi takes 75-90 days and 90-105 days to resume normal growth and reproduction following application of both single and double agricultural doses of malathion and carbofuran, respectively. On the basis of the present and previous studies, we strongly suggest that the time gap between the first and second application of malathion, irrespective of single and double dosage, should be at least 90 days, whereas it should be at least 105 days for carbofuran. Butachlor was found to be very toxic, suppressing growth, sexual maturation and cocoon production of D. willsi at both single and double doses [Ph.D. thesis, Sambalpur University, Orissa, India, 2003]. We therefore suggest that application of organochlorine pesticides like butachlor should be avoided as far as possible to ensure maintenance of good soil health.

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