Publications: Peer-reviewed journal articles (by staff)

Toxicology and ecotoxicology of PAPP for pest control in New Zealand

  • Eason CT,
  • Miller A,
  • Duncan M,
  • and Murphy EA
9 April, 2014
CITATION

Eason CT, Miller A, Duncan M and Murphy EA 2014. Toxicology and ecotoxicology of PAPP for pest control in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 38(2) : 177-188.

ABSTRACT

Field effectiveness for controlling stoats and feral cats, animal welfare profile, toxicology, ecotoxicology, and understanding and reducing non-target risks. PAPP has been developed specifically for the control of stoats and feral cats because of the special sensitivity displayed by these species. Its toxicity is mediated by the induction of methaemoglobinaemia (the ferric state of haemoglobin). Normally, methaemoglobin levels in the blood are below 1%. Levels of methaemoglobin in the blood above 70% are usually fatal, creating a lethal deficit of oxygen in cardiac muscle and the brain. In stoats and feral cats, death after a lethal dose usually occurs within 2 h after eating bait, with clinical signs first appearing in 10 to 20 min for stoats and at around 35 min for cats.

Animals become lethargic and sleepy before they die, hence PAPP is relatively humane. A simple antidote exists, namely methylene blue. Further, birds display a lack of toxicity to PAPP when compared with other vertebrate pesticides. A paste containing 40% PAPP has been developed for use in meat baits in New Zealand. A toxic dose for stoats and feral cats is achieved when pea-sized amounts of paste are delivered in 10–20 g meat baits.

When meat baits containing PAPP are applied in bait stations in field settings, stoat and feral cat numbers can be rapidly reduced. However, there has been limited practical experience with PAPP to date, especially when compared with alternative tools such as traps or sodium monofluoroacetate (1080) baits. Additional practical experience should enable the effective use of PAPP as a tool to help protect native species from introduced predators. In the future, PAPP will be developed in long-life bait and in a resetting toxin delivery system.

Para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) paste was approved as a stoat control agent in New Zealand bythe Environmental Protection Authority in August 2011 and for feral cat control in November 2011. PAPP was originally researched in Europe and the USA as treatment for cyanide and radiation poisoning. Over the last 10 years, our research has focused on several factors, including determining its toxicity to predators. In the future, PAPP will be developed in long-life bait and in a resetting toxin delivery system.

© New Zealand Ecological Society.