Pesticide Residues In Selected Tissues Of The White-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus Virginianus, In Calhoun County, South Carolina

Pesticide residues were measured in selected tissues of the white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, from a leading cotton and soybean producing area in Calhoun County, South Carolina. A minimum of four deer per month were collected from March, 1968, to February, 1969. Nine additional deer were collected from the same area in August and November, 1969. Five deer from an area where pesticides had not been used were included as a control. Samples of fat, brain, liver, kidney, loin muscle, rump muscle, feces and rumen contents were lyophilized, extracted with hexane, then analyzed by gas-liquid chromatography. Only DDT and metabolites were detected. Two residue peaks were evident, one in early spring, and another corresponding to the spray season in late summer. The highest mean residues (1.76 ppm) were found in fat, followed by brain, feces, rumen contents, liver, loin muscle, kidney, and rump muscle in that order. The highest total DDT residue (6.67 ppm) recovered in the fat of a deer collected at the height of the spray season did not exceed the maximum tolerance limit (7.0 ppm) presently established for beef by the FDA. The p p' DDT isomer was the most common residue detected in all tissues. Substantial p p' DDD residues were recovered in the liver, feces, and rumen contents, but low levels of DDE and 0 p' DDT were found in all tissues. There was no evidence suggesting that bioaccumulation of DDT occurred from one year to the next. Higher residues were found with increasing age and weight of the deer, but no difference in residues was detected between males and females. Organochlorine pesticide residues, particularly DDT and metabolites are ubiquitous contaminants of our environment. The agricultural use of pesticides has contributed to the overall level of contamination; however, the production of many agricultural commodities would be seriously impaired without the use of pesticides. Effective control of cotton insects with DDT in combination with other insecticides has been a major factor in the success of cotton in the south. In many sections large populations of white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, are found within major cotton producing areas. Since deer often feed on crops or in areas sprayed with pesticides a knowledge of the effects of pesticide residues to deer is essential for proper management. This study was undertaken to measure and evaluate the levels of organochlorine pesticide residues in white-tailed deer in Calhoun County, South Carolina, a leading cotton and soybean producing area which also maintains a substantial deer population.

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