Associations between DDT and egg parameters of the House Sparrow Passer domesticus from the Thohoyandou area of South Africa

L. Steyn, H. Bouwman, J. N. Maina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated whether the pesticide DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) and its metabolites, DDE (Dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene) and DDD (Dichlorobischlorophenylethane) were associated with adverse effects on multiple endpoints of the eggs of House Sparrows from the Thohoyandou area in South Africa, where DDT is used for malaria control. Eggshell thickness, pore numbers, pore shapes, and volume densities of the pores were measured to test possible adverse effects. Analysis was done using a scanning electron microscope and the concentrations of the pesticides were determined with the aid of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The highest concentrations recorded was p,pʹ-DDE at 0.84 μg/g wm (wet mass) in the eggs collected from Mangondi (a site last sprayed five years before sampling). Overall, the concentrations of total DDT recorded in this study were lower than reported by most other studies conducted in the same area. The association between DDT concentrations and House Sparrows eggshells were noticeable in the eggshell thicknesses, with significant differences between the eggs collected from Muledane (a site last sprayed 30 years before sampling) and Makula (a site sprayed both years of sampling) (P < 0.0022). Limited differences were found between the pore numbers and pore density of eggshells from the various sites. It may be that the limited effect on the pore numbers and volume densities of the pores are associated with low concentrations of DDT in the House Sparrow eggs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-256
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • DDT
  • Eggshell thickness
  • Limpopo
  • Passer domesticus
  • Pore numbers
  • Volume density

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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