Method for detection of mtDNA damages for evaluating of pesticides toxicity for bumblebees (Bombus terrestris L.)

Pestic Biochem Physiol. 2020 Oct;169:104675. doi: 10.1016/j.pestbp.2020.104675. Epub 2020 Aug 5.


Bumblebees are important for crop pollination. Currently, the number of pollinators is decreasing worldwide, which is attributed mostly to the widespread use of pesticides. The aim of this work was to develop a method for assessing the genotoxicity of pesticides for the Bombus terrestris L. bumblebee using long-range PCR of mitochondrial DNA fragments. We have developed a panel of primers and assessed the genotoxicity of the following pesticides: imidacloprid, rotenone, deltamethrin, difenocanozole, malathion, metribuzin, penconazole, esfenvalerate, and dithianon. All pesticides (except imidacloprid) inhibited mitochondrial respiration fueled by pyruvate + malate; the strongest effect was observed for rotenone and difenocanozole. Three pesticides (dithianon, rotenone, and difenocanozole) affected the rate of H2O2 production. To study the pesticide-induced DNA damage in vitro and in vivo, we used three different mtDNA. The mtDNA damage was observed for all studied pesticides. Most of the studied pesticides caused significant damage to mtDNA in vitro and in vivo when ingested. Our results indicate that all tested pesticides, including herbicides and fungicides, can have a toxic effect on pollinators. However, the extent of pesticide-induced mtDNA damage in the flight muscles was significantly less upon the contact compared to the oral administration.

Keywords: Bumblebees; DNA damage; Long-range PCR; Method; Pesticides; mtDNA.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bees
  • DNA, Mitochondrial*
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Mitochondria
  • Pesticides*
  • Pollination


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Pesticides
  • Hydrogen Peroxide