Indian Researchers Unravel How a Common Insecticide Can Cause Diabetes
They found that organophosphates, common in India, are broken down by microbes in the human gut into glucose – and ask us to reconsider their use.
In 2010, an American researcher found that when young rats were exposed to very small amounts of compounds that contained molecules of a substance called organophosphates (OPs), they developed early signs of diabetes. Specifically, he found that the onset of pre-diabetes happened as a result of a metabolic dysfunction. Now, a new study by researchers at the Madurai Kamaraj University has elucidated the precise mechanism of action – the chain of events that begins with exposure to OPs and results in diabetes.
An important aspect of their study is that, according to Ganesan Velmurugan, “All the previous toxicological reports with these insecticides are at acute and large doses. Ours is the first report to replicate the exposure level at day to day life.” Velmurugan works at the department of microbiology in Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, and led the study.
OPs were developed by German researchers in the 1940s as agents of chemical warfare for the Nazis to use in World War II. After the war, they became better known as effective pesticides, and their use increased exponentially after the DDT ban in the 1970s. Nonetheless, their threats as nerve agents persisted, especially among the world’s rural population, which uses OPs regularly in agriculture. And this is what prompted Velmurugan to pursue the problem.
“We noticed increasing reports of diabetes in the villages around our university. In parallel, collaborating Continue reading