Sublethal Effects of Imidacloprid in Hematological Parameters of Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)
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The aim of this study was to evaluate changes in hematological parameters of O. niloticus exposed to sublethal concentrations of the imidacloprid in order to utilize these parameters as biomarkers of exposure. Fish with an average weight of 68.5 ± 2.0 g were exposed to sublethal concentrations of imidacloprid (1.405, 2.810, 14.050, and 28.1 mg L−1) for 7 days. Blood samples were collected by puncture of the tail vein. Blood samples were used to determine the number of erythrocytes, hemoglobin level, hematocrit number, total plasma protein concentration, total and differential leukocytes count, and thrombocytes number. All tested concentrations caused changes in fish leukogram. Concentrations from 14.050 mg L−1 reduced the number of erythrocytes and total plasma proteins. The tilapia exposed to 28.1 mg L−1 had a significant increase in the number of thrombocytes. Although considered slightly toxic to fish, sublethal concentrations of imidacloprid in aquatic environments, even if it does not cause immediate death, may compromise the health and long-term survival of these animals. The sublethal responses adopted for evaluation toxicity in this study were sensitive and adequate to show the extent to which pesticide can affect non-target organisms. This study recommends the use of blood parameters as biomarkers of exposure of fish to pesticides.