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Influence of organic matter on the toxicity of imidacloprid to the springtail Folsomia candida

Due to numerous pest attacks, imidacloprid has found wide usage in agriculture because of its efficient control of insect pests and its low toxicity to vertebrates. However, it has also been found to be toxic to non target organisms which led to its temporary ban in the European Union. It is well known that soil organic matter influences the fate and bioavailability of imidacloprid in the soil. On the contrary, little or no information exists for the toxicity of imidacloprid in different soils. Moreover, since imidacloprid has a high water solubility and a low octanol-water partition coefficient, its toxicity to soil organisms will be more evident through the soil pore water. In view of this, experiments were designed to study:

  • The influence of different soils on imidacloprid toxicity. This will be undertaken by exposing Folsomia candida to varying concentrations of imidacloprid and its formulation, confidor, in three types of soil.
  • The direct toxicity of the soil pore water and correlation of this toxicity to that obtainable in the soil.

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This will be done by extracting pore water and exposing Folsomia candida to the pore water. This study is poised to address gaps in the risk assessment of neonicotinoid pesticides by revealing the influence of soil organic carbon on imidacloprid toxicity and bioavailability. Additionally, there is a potential for this study to correlate soil pore water exposure to soil exposure in a bid to simplify exposure mechanisms.