NIAES > Priority Research Areas (2006-2008) > Environmental Risks of Agrochemicals and POPs

Environmental Risks of Agrochemicals and POPs
— Development of Environmental Risk Assessment Methods and Risk Minimization Technologies for Agrochemicals and Other Substance —

Background and Objectives

Agrochemicals are an important agricultural input to protect crops from diseases, pests and weeds. Use of agrochemicals contributes not only to healthy growth of crops but also to improved farm work efficiency and stable supply of tasty agricultural produce.

But concerns are raised about the possibility that the agrochemicals used in farmland can spread out into the adjacent environment or persist in the ecosystem and may have an adverse impact on crops as well as on people and the environment. Apart from agrochemicals, there are organic chemical substances that are known as “persistent organic pollutants (POPs).” POPs resist degradation in the environment, are prone to accumulate in living bodies, and tend to travel long distances. Accordingly, they are considered to present a high risk of adverse impact on humans, animals and the environment.

In nature, there are many living creatures. While the number of species and their respective populations change according to the season and the weather, the so-called “biodiversity” is maintained. Is this biodiversity adversely affected by agrochemicals, POPs and other organic chemicals, and if so, what are the solutions? These are the questions we are pursuing in our research.

Project Overview

With the aim of assessing the impact of agrochemicals and POPs upon the environment, the following research projects are underway:

Flowchart of Research

Fig. 1 Research flow in the development of environmental risk assessment methodologies and risk reduction technologies for agrochemicals and other substance

Structure of Typical POPs

Fig. 2 Examples of persistent organic pollutants (POPs)

Relevant Outcomes to Date

Simulation model

Fig. 3 Simulation model for agrochemicals concentration in rivers

pictures

Fig. 4 Acute toxicity test of agrochemicals to algae

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Fig. 5 Bacteria are retained in charcoal to decompose agrochemicals