Genotoxic effects of Roundup on the fish Prochilodus lineatus

Mutat Res. Aug-Sep 2008;655(1-2):41-6. doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2008.06.010.


Glyphosate-based herbicides, such as Roundup, represent the most extensively used herbicides worldwide, including Brazil. Despite its extensive use, the genotoxic effects of this herbicide are not completely understood and studies with Roundup show conflicting results with regard to the effects of this product on the genetic material. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the genotoxic effects of acute exposures (6, 24 and 96 h) to 10 mg L(-1) of Roundup on the neotropical fish Prochilodus lineatus. Accordingly, fish erythrocytes were used in the comet assay, micronucleus test and for the analysis of the occurrence of nuclear abnormalities and the comet assay was adjusted for branchial cells. The results showed that Roundup produces genotoxic damage in erythrocytes and gill cells of P. lineatus. The comet scores obtained for P. lineatus erythrocytes after 6 and 96 h of exposure to Roundup were significantly higher than respective negative controls. For branchial cells comet scores were significantly higher than negative controls after 6 and 24 h exposures. The frequencies of micronucleus and other erythrocyte nuclear abnormalities (ENAs) were not significantly different between Roundup exposed fish and their respective negative controls, for all exposure periods. In conclusion, the results of this work showed that Roundup produced genotoxic effects on the fish species P. lineatus. The comet assay with gill cells showed to be an important complementary tool for detecting genotoxicity, given that it revealed DNA damage in periods of exposure that erythrocytes did not. ENAs frequency was not a good indicator of genotoxicity, but further studies are needed to better understand the origin of these abnormalities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Comet Assay
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects*
  • Fishes / physiology*
  • Gills / drug effects*
  • Glycine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glycine / toxicity
  • Micronucleus Tests
  • Mutagens / toxicity*
  • Time Factors
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*


  • Mutagens
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • glyphosate
  • Glycine