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Acephate, an organophosphate (OP) pesticide, was used to investigate the effects of its chronic exposure on hemocyte abundance in a non-target dipteran insect Drosophila melanogaster. For this purpose, six graded concentrations ranging from 1 to 6 μg/ml were selected, which are below the reported residual values (up to 14 μg/ml) of the chemical. 1st instar larvae were fed with these concentrations up to the 3rd instar stage and accordingly hemolymph smears from these larvae were prepared for differential hemocyte count. Three types of cells are found in Drosophila hemolymph, namely, plasmatocytes, lamellocytes and crystal cells. Plasmatocyte count was found to decrease with successive increase in treatment concentrations. Crystal cells showed an increasing trend in their number. Though the number of lamellocytes was very low, a bimodal response was noticed. Lamellocyte number was found to increase with the initial three concentrations, followed by a dose dependent reduction in their number. As hemocytes are directly linked to the immune system of fruit flies, fluctuations in normal titer of these cells may affect insect immunity. Hemocytes share homologies in their origin and mode of action with the immune cells of higher organisms including man. Thus the present findings suggest that immune cells of humans and other organisms may be affected adversely under chronic exposure to Acephate.
Environmental pollution caused by heavy metals such as mercury is one of the most important human problems. It might have severe teratogenic effects on embryonic development. Some pharmacological and physiological aspects of fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) are similar to humans. So the stages of egg to adult fruit fly, as a developmental model, were employed in the study. Wild adult insects were maintained in glass dishes containing standard medium at 25 °C in complete darkness. Five pairs of 3-day old flies were then transferred to standard culture dishes containing different concentrations of mercury ion. They were removed after 8 hours. We considered the following: The rate of larvae becoming pupae and pupae to adults; the time required for the development; the hatching rate in the second generation without mercury in the culture; the morphometric changes during development in both length and width of the eggs through two generations; larvae, pupae and adult thorax length and width. The results showed that mercury in culture (20-100 mg/l) increase the duration of larvae (p<0.01) and pupae (p<0.01) development, the rate of larvae becoming pupae (p<0.001); pupae maturation (p<0.05), the hatching rate (p<0.01), the length (p<0.05) and width of larvae (p<0.01) and pupae (p<0.001) and the length in the adult thorax (p<0.01) decreased significantly. There was no effect upon the size of eggs. There were also no larvae hatching in concentrations of 200 mg/l of mercury. Negative effects of mercury as a heavy metal are possibly due to the interference of this metal in cellular signaling pathways, such as: Notch signaling and protein synthesis during the period of development. Since it bonds chemically with the sulfur hydride groups of proteins, it causes damage to the cell membrane and decreases the amount of RNA. This is the cause of failure of many enzyme mechanisms.
Influence of shiitake mushroom Lentinula edodes on reproduction of Drosophila melanogaster
Shiitake mushroom Lentinula edodes is an edible basidiomycete cultivated worldwide, with high nutritious value and diverse biological activity. There has been an increase in its use as food supplement. Influence of shiitake mushroom extract on the reproductive function and development in an object fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is described in this research. Fruit flies were maintained on banana medium with or without supplementation of shiitake mushroom's extract, standardized per amount of crude polysaccharides. Shiitake extract supplement, 0.030% and 0.015% crude polysaccharides per volume, induced a statistically significant increase in total number of pupae and flies, and promoted pupae viability. Adult drosophilae males, which received shiitake extract supplement for seven days, had a statistically significant reduction in copulation latency, while thirty day exposure to extract promoted a statistically higher rate of mated flies. Females showed an increase in number of mated flies and reduction in copulation latency post seven day feeding period and had no significant effect on mating ability and fertility post thirty days. Further studies are planned to identify the biologically active components of shiitake mushroom hot water extract and to characterize their effects on reproductive function.