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Pesticide distribution in European soils resulting from decades of application and related risk for the environment

  • 1 February, 2015
  • Wageningen University, Soil Physics and Land Management
  • prof. dr CJ Ritsemaprof. dr V Geissen
  • dr H Mol

The amount and variety of pesticides used in agriculture has increased in the last decades to respond to an increasing global food demand. Generally, only a residual part of the applied pesticides reach the target while a high amount is released to the environment. This is especially concerning since some pesticides, and/or their metabolites, are persistent in the environment, bio accumulated and toxic to non-target organisms. Therefore, it is crucial to clarify what mixtures of pesticide residues are currently present in the environment and assess their ecological relevance. Considering the lack of studies on soil pollution by organic pollutants in Europe, this PhD project aims to provide one of the first surveys of the degree of soil contamination by pesticide residues at the EU level, namely in croplands with high pesticide use from different pedo-climatic zones in Europe. Furthermore, at a micro catchment scale, this PhD project will i) compare (co)occurrence and levels of pesticide residues in conventional and organic farms and ii) assess the off-site transport of these pesticide residues in water eroded sediments. This data will be used to estimate fate and risks of pesticide residues. The outputs from this PhD project should lead to a greater awareness of pesticide impacts and contribute to an improvement on European monitoring programs and policies.

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Vera Felix Da Graca Silva

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