The Effect of Various Pesticides and Fenton's Reagent on Model Organisms and Their Environments

EPA Grant Number: FP916427
Title: The Effect of Various Pesticides and Fenton's Reagent on Model Organisms and Their Environments
Investigators: Howarth, Deanna L.
Institution: Duke University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2007
Project Amount: $111,344
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Fellowship - Toxicology , Academic Fellowships , Health Effects


The objective of this research project is to determine the effects of various pesticides and Fenton’s reagent on model organisms and their environments.


This project will involve an analysis of gene expression in model organisms, such as Caenorhabditis elegans, when exposed to high concentrations of pesticides. Exposure to the toxicants will allow for the discovery of genes responsive to them and the proteins encoded by the genes. Further research on those genes through classical and reverse genetics also may elucidate regulatory pathways in C. elegans that result in activation of these genes. These discoveries can help determine how organisms adapt to environments that contain high levels of toxicants. Furthermore, similar research using Fenton’s reagent will be conducted. Fenton’s reagent is used to break down pesticides. If it is to be used in the environment to treat toxic areas, it should be determined what sort of an effect the reagent will have on the organisms living in the area. Lastly, research regarding iron overload and iron poisoning in humans may be conducted. This will be done through analyses of bacterial and mammalian transferrins and how they take up iron from the environment. The research relates to Fenton’s reagent because it contains iron. If Fenton’s reagent were to be used to clean up an area with a high concentration of pesticides, regulators should know if its iron will be accessible to bacteria and mammals through their respective transferrins, resulting in high iron concentrations in the food chain.

This work is expected to result in a better understanding of pesticides and Fenton’s reagent and how they affect gene expression and regulatory pathways in model organisms such as C. elegans. It is possible that new genes and pathways will be discovered as a result of this research. Further understanding of bacterial and mammalian transferrins can be achieved as a result of this project. Ultimately, it is hoped to determine whether Fenton’s reagent can be used safely in nature to clean up areas with high pesticide concentrations.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, Caenorhabditis. elegans, pesticides, Fenton’s reagent, transferrins, gene expression, regulatory pathways, iron, remediation, pesticides,, Health, Scientific Discipline, HUMAN HEALTH, Toxicology, Genetics, Environmental Chemistry, Exposure, Risk Assessments, Ecological Risk Assessment, iron poisoning, pesticides, genetic analysis, human exposure, dietary exposure, Fenton's reagent, human health risk, genotoxins

Relevant Websites:

2004 STAR Graduate Fellowship Conference Poster (PDF, 1p., 228KB, about PDF)

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • Final