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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 179-183

Ethephon, an organophosphorous, a Fruit and Vegetable Ripener: Has potential hepatotoxic effects?

1 Department of Anatomy, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Anatomy, University College of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Clinical Research, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ajeet Singh Bhadoria
Department of Clinical Research, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, New Delhi - 110 070
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_422_16

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Introduction: In the recent years, ethephon, 2-chloroethylphosphonic acid, is one of the most commonly used plant growth regulators. At present, it is being used on fruits, vegetables, and cereals for promoting pre- and post-harvest ripening. The effect of artificial ripening has become questionable because of various health-related issues. This study was conducted to note the morphology of liver after ethephon administration as it is the site where chemicals undergo first pass metabolism and probably will be affected by ethephon. Materials and Methods: Adult Wistar albino rats were divided into experimental and control groups (10 each). Ethephon was administered at a dose of 200 mg/kg/day by a gavage tube in the experimental rats for 14 days. The animals were sacrificed within 24 h of the last dose; liver was dissected and processed for light microscopy. Hematoxylin and eosin-stained sections were studied using an image-pro express analyzer. The data obtained from control and experimental groups were statistically analyzed. Results: In the experimental rats, the body weight was found to be significantly decreased. The orderly arrangement of hepatocytes was disrupted and was replaced by blood-filled sinusoids. At sites, hepatocytes appeared to be degenerated. Councilman bodies with pyknotic nuclei and inflammatory infiltrations were seen. The population per unit area of the hepatocytes and Kupffer cells was 29.53 ± 10.65 versus 44.18 ± 10.31 and 25.12 ± 4.41versus 13.05 ± 6.5 in experimental and control groups, respectively. The decrease of hepatocytes and increase of Kupffer cells were found to be statistically significant. Conclusions: The observations in the liver are probably indicative of degenerative changes associated with ethephon. Hence, we can conclude that this plant growth regulator, Fruit and Vegetable Ripener, has hepatotoxic potential. General awareness and regarding the use of such plant growth regulators is must to reduce the intake.

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