Environmentally Relevant Atrazine Concentrations in Western Iowa and Potential HepG2 Cell Cycle Effects

by Robin Jackson
Environmental Science
Faculty advisor: Dr. Melinda Coogan

Atrazine, one of the major herbicides found in the United States, has been used in the agricultural industries since 1958. It is water soluble and found in high concentrations within agricultural regions, such as Storm Lake, Iowa. Atrazine has started to become a health concern for animals, including humans. Since atrazine is soluble in water, its relative mobility causes contamination of both ground and surface water, which are the source of drinking water for numerous Midwest communities. Dr. Kavita Dhanwada, Associate Professor of Biology with University of Northern Iowa, has found that certain atrazine concentrations affect the division of hepatocytes, specifically HepG2 cells. HepG2 cells are a genetically modified hepatocarcinoma, or cancer cell from the liver. Dr. Dhanwada used atrazine concentrations of 0, 3, 10, 50, 100, and 200 µg/L to dose her HepG2 cells. My study was two-fold: to investigate methods of HepG2 cell culturing at Buena Vista University, and to determine environmentally-relevant concentrations of atrazine found within specific NW regions of Iowa. The sample sites for atrazine concentration testing came from three wetlands or ponds surrounded by agriculture. Using an Abraxis ELISA Atrazine Test Kit, this study determined the following concentration levels for my test sites: <0.05, <0.05, and <1 (approximately 0.39) parts per billion.