Determination of the pyrethroid insecticide metabolite 3-PBA in plasma and urine samples from farmer and consumer groups in northern Thailand

Sarunya Thiphom, Tippawan Prapamontol, Somporn Chantara, Ampica Mangklabruks, Chaisuree Suphavilai, Ki Chang Ahn, Shirley J. Gee, Bruce D. Hammock

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27 Scopus citations


In this study, the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) were modified to detect 3-PBA in plasma (including the adducted form) and urine among a large group of consumers and farmers in an agricultural area. The samples were collected on the same day in the morning from 100 consumers (50 females, 50 males) and 100 farmers (50 females, 50 males) in the Fang district, Chiang Mai province, northern Thailand. The ELISA was very sensitive having an IC50 value of 26.7 and 15.3 ng/mL, a limit of quantitation of 5 and 2.5 ng/mL and a limit of detection of 1.08 and 1.94 ng/mL for plasma and urine, respectively. These methods had low (< 5%) intra- and inter-assay coefficients of variation. The extraction technique satisfactorily eliminated the matrix effect from samples before ELISA analysis, yielding good recoveries (85.9-99.4% and 87.3-98.0%, respectively). For the volunteer study, the detection rate for plasma 3-PBA was 24% in consumers and 42% in farmers, but the median and range values were similar (median 5.87 ng/mL, range 5.16-8.44 ng/mL in consumers and 6.27 ng/mL, range 4.29-9.57 ng/mL in farmers). The rate of detection in the urine was similar (76% and 69%, in consumers and in farmers), yet the median concentration was significantly higher in farmers (8.86 μg/g creatinine in consumers vs 16.1 μg/g creatinine in farmers) and the range also much wider in farmers (1.62-80.5 μg/g creatinine in consumers and 0.80-256.2 μg/g creatinine in farmers). There was no correlation between plasma 3-PBA and urinary 3-PBA concentrations in the study presumably because plasma 3-PBA is a measure of cumulative exposures while urinary 3-PBA reflects acute exposures. In addition, metabolism and excretion of pyrethroids varies by individual. Nevertheless, this study demonstrated that these volunteers were exposed to pyrethroids. To our knowledge, this is the first report that compared plasma 3-PBA and urinary 3-PBA in a large group of volunteers. The ELISA method provided higher sample throughput with lower cost as compared to the instrumental analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-22
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Science and Health - Part B Pesticides, Food Contaminants, and Agricultural Wastes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • 3-PBA-adduct
  • consumers
  • farmers
  • plasma 3-PBA
  • Pyrethroid insecticide
  • urinary 3-PBA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Pollution


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