Detectable organophosphorus pesticide exposure in the blood of Nebraska and Iowa residents measured by mass spectrometry of butyrylcholinesterase adducts

Wei Jiang, Oksana Lockridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detected organophosphorus pesticide (OP) metabolites in the urine of 96% of Americans, for urine collected before the ban on nonagricultural use of OP in December 2001. It was not known whether exposure was to OP degradation products or to live OP. Our goal was to determine whether exposure was to live OP in the years 2001, 2003, and 2005. Our test for exposure was the presence of OP adducts on plasma butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) detected by mass spectrometry. We purified three lots of BChE from the pooled plasma of 600-800 individuals each, in the years 2001, 2003, and 2005. Blood donors were healthy adults living in Nebraska and Iowa, two agricultural states that grow corn and soybeans. The purified BChE was tested for the presence of OP adducts on serine 198 using MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometry. Low levels of methoxyphosphate-labeled BChE were found. The amount of adducted BChE was highest (1%) in blood collected in the year 2001 and lowest (0.2%) in blood collected in the year 2005. A negative control sample of BChE purified from cord blood collected in the year 2012 had no detectable adducts. It was concluded that Nebraska and Iowa residents were exposed to very low levels of live, intact organophosphorus pesticides, and that exposure levels in the pooled samples declined after the year 2001.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-95
Number of pages5
JournalChemico-Biological Interactions
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 25 2013



  • Butyrylcholinesterase
  • Mass spectrometry
  • OP-adduct
  • Organophosphorus pesticides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology

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