Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering
A field trial was carried out in Kent, UK, in 1980, to assess the possible hazards to wildlife of methiocarb used as a spray to protect ripening cherries from damage by birds. A broad range of studies was undertaken on a single site subjected to a series of five applications. Ground deposition was measured by analysis of strips of chromatography paper and petri dishes placed between lines of trees. Airborne drift was measured on targets up to 11 m above the ground, and methiocarb residues were measured in samples of cherries. Birds were captured by intensive mist-netting throughout the trial, and breeding success was monitored in nest boxes and natural nest sites. Livetraps were set to catch small mammals in the orchard on five occasions during the trial. Systematic searches for possible casualties were made, resulting in the discovery of 21 birds found dead or incapacitated. Levels of activity of plasma, liver and brain esterases were measured in samples taken from several species, and liver slices from House Sparrows, Starlings and Thrushes were examined histologically for signs of cell damage. Samples of breast muscle tissue from Starlings and House Sparrows were analysed by GLC for residues of methiocarb and its principal breakdown product, methiocarb sulfoxide. Overall, the trial revealed that many birds and mammals were exposed to methiocarb, but its effects were largely transient and sublethal. Even a heavy repeated programme of spray applications did not cause any serious hazard to wildlife populations.
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