Pesticide residues discovered in organically managed soils
Published: April 8, 2021
A recent study in Environmental Science & Technology has found pesticides in all of the screened organic fields, 40 in total. An analytical method containing 46 pesticides (16 herbicides, 8 herbicide transformation products, 17 fungicides, seven insecticides) was used on 100 total fields, 60 of them under conventional management and 40 under organic.
The number of pesticide residues was two times and the concentration nine times higher in conventional compared to organic fields. Pesticide number and concentrations significantly decreased with the duration of organic management; but even after 20 years of organic management, up to 16 different pesticides were located. Microbial biomass and specifically the abundance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, a widespread group of beneficial plant symbionts, were significantly negatively linked to the amount of pesticide residues in soil.
This shows that pesticide residues, in addition to abiotic factors such as pH, are a key factor determining microbial soil life in agroecosystems. The conclusion is that pesticides are a hidden reality in agricultural soils that most likely does harm to beneficial soil life.
Source: ACS Publications
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Organic & Non-GMO Insights April 2021