Environmental risk assessment of pesticides in tropical terrestrial ecosystems: Test procedures, current status and future perspectives

Michiel A. Daam*, Sónia Chelinho, Júlia C. Niemeyer, Olugbenga J. Owojori, P. Mangala C.S. De Silva, Jóse Paulo Sousa, Cornelis A.M. van Gestel, Jörg Römbke

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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    Despite the increasing use of pesticides in tropical countries, research and legislative efforts have focused on their temperate counterparts. This paper presents a review of the literature on environmental risk assessment of pesticides for tropical terrestrial agroecosystems. It aims at evaluating potential differences in pesticide risk between temperate and tropical regions as well as to highlight research needs in the latter. Peculiarities of pesticide risks in tropical terrestrial agroecosystems are discussed in subsections 1) agricultural practices; 2) research efforts; 3) fate and exposure; 4) toxicity testing methods; and 5) sensitivity. The intensive and often inadequate pesticide application practices in tropical areas are likely to result in a relatively greater pesticide exposure in edge-of-field water bodies. Since pesticide fate may be different under tropical conditions, tropical scenarios for models estimating predicted environmental pesticide concentrations should be developed. Sensitivity comparisons do not indicate a consistent similar, greater or lower relative sensitivity of tropical soil organisms as compared to temperate organisms. However, several methods and procedures for application in the tropics need to be developed, which include: 1) identifying and collecting natural soils to be used as reference test substrates in tests; 2) identifying and discerning the range of sensitivity of native test species to soil contaminants; 3) developing test guidelines applicable to tropical/subtropical conditions; and 4) developing methods and procedures for higher tier testing for full development and implementation of environmental risk assessment schemes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)534-547
    Number of pages14
    JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
    Early online date21 Jun 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2019


    • Ecotoxicology
    • Pesticides
    • Soil contamination
    • Soil invertebrates
    • Tropics


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