A simple undergraduate laboratory experiment that can be used in Biochemistry and Toxicology courses to illustrate the importance of metabolic reactions in the toxicity of chemical substances is reported. It involves the experimental confirmation that oxidized phosphorothionate esters, commonly used as insecticides, are stronger cholinesterase inhibitors and therefore exhibit higher toxicity than do their sulphur analogs starting from which the first are formed by in vivo oxidative desulphuration. Two separated aliquots of a bovine blood sample are incubated with parathion and paraoxon, its oxygen analog, and compared for cholinesterase activity with 'normal' blood. Previously, a standard sample of paraoxon was obtained by oxidation of the thiono group of parathion with bromine vapour by reaction TLC. The comparison of the inhibitory capacity of both compounds is made by a colorimetric procedure using acetylthiocholine as substrate of the enzyme and 5,5'-dithiobis-(2-nitrobenzoic acid) as chromogen. Copyright (C) 2000 IUBMB.
Arufe, M. I., Romero, J. L., Gamero, J. J., & Moreno, M. J. (2000). Oxidation of cholinesterase-inhibiting pesticides: A simple experiment to illustrate the role of bioactivation in the toxicity of chemicals. Biochemical Education, 28(3), 174–177. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0307-4412(99)00148-X