Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New System Minimizes Pesticide Pollution Of Aquifers

Date:
March 12, 2009
Source:
CSIC- Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas
Summary:
Scientists have developed and patented a encapsulation system for controlled release of herbicides and pesticides. The encapsulation retains the pesticide in a liposome and clay structure, that hold and slowly release the pesticide. The main advantages are a longer effective period for the compound and less pollution of the environment, because the pesticide is not dragged with the water.

One of the effects of the application of pesticides and herbicides in agriculture is the pollution of aquifers, because the pesticide is carried by irrigation water or rain along the soil profile (leaching). Minimizing such contamination is possible adjusting the maximum dose of herbicide. Nevertheless, it is difficult to totally avoid it because sooner or later the chemical will be dragged by the water.

Another problem is that when applying pesticides by spray part of their molecules are

volatilized. Failure to comply with strict security measures implies risk for people who repeatedly apply the compounds as they are exposed to the neurotoxic effects of some of these substances.

Scientists in the Institute of Natural Resources and Agrobiology of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) have developed a method to encapsulate and slowly release pesticides so that prevents the leaching as well as the volatilization of their molecules.

Tomas Undabeytia, principal investigator of this project, explains that the new method encapsulates the pesticide in lecithin liposomes or vesicles, which in turn are  fixed on the surface (adsorption) of clay. The final product is a complex that combines liposomes, pesticide and clay and, at a first glance, looks like clay powder. This complex, which is dispersed in water, allows the chemical compound to be slowly released, as it is fixed to the clay. This also prevents the compound to be washed away by irrigation water or rainfall to subsurface layers and aquifers.

Although the formulation has been designed for agricultural products, it could be applied to other areas, such as mosquito lotions. The components of this formulation, the lipid to form liposome and the clay mineral, are classified by the Environmental Protection Agency of USA (USEPA) as substances of minimal toxicological concern.

Fewer doses, more time, less cost

The new development allows a safer pesticide formulation, thus avoiding repetitive applications or the need for higher doses and reducing the risk of contamination of water and soil while maintaining the desired effect of the pesticide on the target.

One of the major advantages of this system, as the authors explains, is that this formulation can be applied to molecules of pesticides of any kind, either hydrophobic, or acidic or basic. This greatly reduces complications. Experts know that when  talking about pesticides, the interaction between chemicals and different soil types must be taken into account. For example, in Mediterranean agricultural areas predominates the calcareous soils. These kind of soils do not retain the anionic herbicide, which means that once there is an excess of water, then all the pesticide is leached to lower layers of soil. On the other hand, there are some new herbicides developed to minimize the required dose and reduce these pollution problems. But they are precisely anionic herbicides, which leach easily into calcareous soils. So, depending on the physico-chemical properties of the soil, the potential benefits of these last generation of herbicides can be lost. This is just one example that demonstrates why it is so important to obtain a slow release system, as these researchers have developed, able to be applied to any molecule of pesticide.

EU Regulations

Safety problems with pesticides are not trivial. The EU has recently adopted new rules to restrict the use of chemical compounds that pose a risk to health and the environment. The new regulations forbid, among other things, production of pesticides that may be carcinogens or affect human health. Some of the compounds that are used at the farm level are very neurotoxic and, although they degrade after a few days, humans and wildlife exposed while the molecules are still active can be affected.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CSIC- Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

CSIC- Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas. "New System Minimizes Pesticide Pollution Of Aquifers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090306084639.htm>.
CSIC- Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas. (2009, March 12). New System Minimizes Pesticide Pollution Of Aquifers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090306084639.htm
CSIC- Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas. "New System Minimizes Pesticide Pollution Of Aquifers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090306084639.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Is Magic Leap, And Why Is It Worth $500M?

What Is Magic Leap, And Why Is It Worth $500M?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — Magic Leap isn't publicizing much more than a description of its product, but it’s been enough for Google and others to invest more than $500M. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins