Relationship between organochlorine pesticides and stress indicators in hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) nesting at Punta Xen (Campeche), Southern Gulf of Mexico

Ecotoxicology. 2017 Mar;26(2):173-183. doi: 10.1007/s10646-016-1752-5. Epub 2016 Dec 26.


Data on the impact of environmental pollution on the homeostasis of sea turtles remains scarce, particularly in the Southern Gulf of Mexico. As many municipalities along the coastline of the Yucatan Peninsula do not rely on a waste treatment plant, these organisms could be particularly vulnerable. We searched for relationships between the presence of organochlorine pesticides (OCP) and the level of several oxidative and pollutant stress indicators of the hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) during the 2010 nesting season at Punta Xen (Campeche, Mexico). Of the 30 sampled sea turtles, endosulfans, aldrin related (aldrin, endrin, dieldrin, endrin ketone, endrin aldehyde) and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDT) families were detected in 17, 21 and 26, respectively. Significant correlation existed between the size of sea turtles with the concentration of methoxychlor, cholinesterase activity in plasma and heptachlors family, and catalase activity and hexachlorohexane family. Cholinesterase activity in washed erythrocytes and lipid peroxidation were positively correlated with glutathione reductase activity. Antioxidant enzyme actions seem adequate as no lipids damages were correlated with any OCPs. Future studies are necessary to evaluate the effect of OCPs on males of the area due to the significant detection of methoxychlor, which target endocrine functioning and increases its concentration with sea turtles size.

Keywords: Blood; Catalase; Cholinesterase; Glutathione reductase; Organochlorine; Sea turtle.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Gulf of Mexico
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / toxicity*
  • Mexico
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Pesticides / toxicity*
  • Turtles / anatomy & histology
  • Turtles / metabolism*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*


  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Pesticides
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical