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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 709036, 10 pages
Research Article

Effects of Chlorophenoxy Herbicides and Their Main Transformation Products on DNA Damage and Acetylcholinesterase Activity

1Departamento de Engenharia Química, Instituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto (ISEP), Instituto Politécnico Porto, 4200-072 Porto, Portugal
2CIQ/Departamento de Química e Bioquímica, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade do Porto, 4169-007 Porto, Portugal
3REQUIMTE/Laboratório de Farmacognosia, Departamento de Química, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade do Porto, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal

Received 28 November 2013; Accepted 4 February 2014; Published 27 March 2014

Academic Editor: Peter P. Egeghy

Copyright © 2014 Sofia Benfeito et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Persistent pesticide transformation products (TPs) are increasingly being detected among different environmental compartments, including groundwater and surface water. However, there is no sufficient experimental data on their toxicological potential to assess the risk associated with TPs, even if their occurrence is known. In this study, the interaction of chlorophenoxy herbicides (MCPA, mecoprop, 2,4-D and dichlorprop) and their main transformation products with calf thymus DNA by UV-visible absorption spectroscopy has been assessed. Additionally, the toxicity of the chlorophenoxy herbicides and TPs was also assessed evaluating the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase activity. On the basis of the results found, it seems that AChE is not the main target of chlorophenoxy herbicides and their TPs. However, the results found showed that the transformation products displayed a higher inhibitory activity when compared with the parent herbicides. The results obtained in the DNA interaction studies showed, in general, a slight effect on the stability of the double helix. However, the data found for 4-chloro-2-methyl-6-nitrophenol suggest that this transformation product can interact with DNA through a noncovalent mode.