Navigation Links
Organic pesticides not always 'greener' choice, study finds
Date:6/24/2010

Consumers shouldn't assume that, because a product is organic, it's also environmentally friendly.

A new University of Guelph study reveals some organic pesticides can have a higher environmental impact than conventional pesticides because the organic product may require larger doses.

Environmental sciences professor Rebecca Hallett and PhD candidate Christine Bahlai compared the effectiveness and environmental impact of organic pesticides to those of conventional and novel reduced-risk synthetic products on soybean crops.

"The consumer demand for organic products is increasing partly because of a concern for the environment," said Hallett. "But it's too simplistic to say that because it's organic it's better for the environment. Organic growers are permitted to use pesticides that are of natural origin and in some cases these organic pesticides can have higher environmental impacts than synthetic pesticides often because they have to be used in large doses."

The study, which is published today in the journal PloS One, involved testing six pesticides and comparing their environmental impact and effectiveness in killing soybean aphids the main pest of soybean crops across North America.

The two scientists examined four synthetic pesticides: two conventional products commonly used by soybean farmers and two new, reduced-risk pesticides. They also examined a mineral oil-based organic pesticide that smothers aphids and another product containing a fungus that infects and kills insects.

The researchers used the environmental impact quotient, a database indicating impact of active ingredients based on such factors as leaching rate into soil, runoff, toxicity from skin exposure, consumer risk, toxicity to birds and fish, and duration of the chemical in the soil and on the plant.

They also conducted field tests on how well each pesticide targeted aphids while leaving their predators -- ladybugs and flower bugs -- unharmed.

"We found the mineral oil organic pesticide had the most impact on the environment because it works by smothering the aphids and therefore requires large amounts to be applied to the plants," said Hallett.

Compared to the synthetic pesticides, the mineral oil-based and fungal products were less effective, as they also killed ladybugs and flower bugs, which are important regulators of aphid population and growth.

These predator insects reduce environmental impact because they naturally protect the crop, reducing the amount of pesticides that are needed, she added.

"Ultimately, the organic products were much less effective than the novel and conventional pesticides at killing the aphids and they have a potentially higher environmental impact," she said. "In terms of making pest management decisions and trying to do what is best for the environment, it's important to look at every compound and make a selection based on the environmental impact quotient rather than if it's simply natural or synthetic. It's a simplification that just doesn't work when it comes to minimizing environmental impact."


'/>"/>

Contact: Deirdre Healey
d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca
519-824-4120
University of Guelph
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Delineating primary and secondary organic carbon in neoproterozoic glacial sediments
2. New model is proposed to explain absence of organic compounds on surface of Mars
3. The Reaxys Ph.D. Prize awards innovative research in organic, organometallic and inorganic chemistry
4. Organic solids in soil may speed up bacterial breathing
5. Can organic labels backfire?
6. Cover crop mulches tested for no-till organic onions
7. Measuring the stability of organic waste
8. Ecology in organic ag: Combining farming, science
9. NPL supports growing organic electronics industry
10. Organic weed control for dandelions
11. Organic food not nutritionally better than conventionally-produced food
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/7/2017)... WARSAW, Ind. , Feb. 7, 2017 ... global leader in musculoskeletal healthcare, will present at the ... Lotte New York Palace Hotel on Wednesday, February 15, ... A live webcast of the presentation can be accessed ... for replay following the conference via Zimmer Biomet,s Investor ...
(Date:2/3/2017)... -- Texas Biomedical Research Institute announced that its Board of Trustees ... the Institute,s new President and CEO. Dr. Schlesinger will take ... is currently the Chair of the Department of Microbial Infection ... Biology at Ohio State University. "We are delighted ... of Texas Biomed," said Dr. James O. Rubin , ...
(Date:2/2/2017)... -- EyeLock LLC, a market leader of iris-based identity authentication ... You Should Know About Biometrics in the Cloud ."  ... a growing concern. In traditional schemes, cryptography is used ... schemes such as username/password suffer from inherent weaknesses. ... elegant solution to the problem of high-security user authentication. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... ... Delpor, Inc. (Delpor), a biotechnology company focused on drug delivery, today announced ... for the further advancement of the company’s 3-month olanzapine product ( DLP-119 ). The ... therapeutic levels of olanzapine for a period of 3 months., “We are honored and ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... 24, 2017  Driven by consumers, preference towards ... the fastest growing categories, finds the recently published ... Personal Care: Multi-regional Market Analysis and Opportunities ... firm Kline. "Biotechnology actives are derived ... more effective for skin and hair care applications," ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... , Feb. 24, 2017  OncoSec Medical Incorporated ... immunotherapies, will host a Key Opinion Leader event to ... an oral and poster presentation at the upcoming 2017 ... The KOL event will be held in-person and via ... EST / 9:00 AM PST at the Lotte New ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... 23, 2017  MIODx announced today that it ... immunotherapy technologies from the University of California, San ... to monitor a patient for response to immune ... The second license extends the technology with a ... to have an immune-related adverse event (IRAE) from ...
Breaking Biology Technology: