- Organophosphates are a group of human-made chemicals, esters of phosphoric acid, that poison insects and mammals.
- Organophosphates are used in agriculture, homes, gardens and veterinary practices.
- In the past decade, several OPs have been discontinued for use.
- Common organophosphates include:
- Methyl parathion
Toxicokinetics: Mechanism of organophosphate toxicity
- The chemical can enter the body through ingestion, inhalation, or contact with skin.
- Once inside the body, the organophosphates inhibit cholinesterase, which is an enzyme in the human nervous system that breaks down acetylcholine.
- Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that carries signals between nerves and muscles.
- When cholinesterase is inactivated, acetylcholine builds up in the nerves, which become overactive, affecting the functioning of nervous system, heart, immunity and reproductive system.
- The gel developed by researchers will not act as physical barrier, but will chemically deactivate the organophosphates.
- The base of the gel is chitosan, a natural substance extracted from the waste shells of crabs and shrimps.
- The gel was found to cleave a wide range of commercially available pesticides before they enter the bloodstream, thus reducing the pesticide-induced enzyme inhibition.
Section : Environment & Ecology