Toxicity and Action of Chlorpyrifos and Other Organophosphates in the Eastern Subterranean Termite

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Chlorpyrifos and certain other organophosphates were toxic when applied topically to Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar). Symptoms manifested by termites poisoned with these organophosphates were cholinomimetic. There existed a relationship between in vitro termite cholinesterase (ChE) inhibition by direct inhibitors as measured by pI50 (the negative logarithm of the molar inhibitor concentration yielding 50% inhibition of enzyme) and toxicity as measured by LD50. Generally the shorter alkyl chain organophosphates were the more potent ChE inhibitors and were highly toxic. Conversely, the longer alkyl chain compounds were less potent in vitro ChE inhibitors and were much less toxic. With chlorpyrifos and several related chloropyridyl phosphorothioates and phosphates there was a direct relationship between in vivo ChE inhibition and the severity of the symptoms of poisoning. Thus, the action of chlorpyrifos and certain other organophosphates in the eastern subterranean termite was related to inhibition of ChE.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 1974

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  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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