Girl Planting seeds

Scientists warn about the dangerous interaction of plant protection products

Pest control is one of the vital services provided by insects in agroecosystems. Natural methods relying on biological control agents, such as parasitoid wasps, represent a highly effective way to supress crop pest populations. Conventional practices in agriculture typically involve applying various synthetic pesticides (e.g. insecticides, fungicides, herbicides) simultaneously, in the form of a tank-mixture, to protect crops. However, current standard practices in pesticide risk assessment on biocontrol insects only examine the effects of individual pesticides.  Using a hymenopteran parasitoid wasp Aphelinus abdominalis (a globally distributed species widely used in biocontrol) as a model, a team of researchers showed the enhanced effect of a low-concentration insecticide (thiacloprid) treatment when combined with various concentrations of a fungicide (tebuconazole). This work highlights the potential impact on parasitoid mortality and paralysis (a state which inevitably leads to mortality under natural conditions) when these two compounds are tank-mixed for crop protection, with insecticide toxicity generally increasing as the combined fungicide concentration increases. Both of these compounds are commonly tank-mixed and applied in many crops and regions throughout Europe, including, for example, oilseed rape agroecosystems in Estonia.  Read more...



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