Copper and Copper-Containing Pesticides: Metabolism, Toxicity and Oxidative Stress
The purpose of this paper is to provide a brief review of the current knowledge
regarding metabolism and toxicity of copper and copper-based pesticides in living organisms.
Copper is an essential trace element in all living organisms (bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals),
because it participates in different metabolic processes and maintain functions of organisms. The
transport and metabolism of copper in living organisms is currently the subject of many studies.
Copper is absorbed, transported, distributed, stored, and excreted in the body via the complex of
homeostatic processes, which provide organisms with a needed constant level of this micronutrient
and avoid excessive amounts. Many aspects of copper homeostasis were studied at the molecular
level. Copper based-pesticides, in particularly fungicides, bacteriocides and herbicides, are widely
used in agricultural practice throughout the world. Copper is an integral part of antioxidant
enzymes, particularly copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (Cu,Zn-SOD), and plays prominent roles
in iron homeostasis. On the other hand, excess of copper in organism has deleterious effect,
because it stimulates free radical production in the cell, induces lipid peroxidation, and disturbs
the total antioxidant capacity of the body. The mechanisms of copper toxicity are discussed in this