Looking at Neonicotinoid Insecticides: Environmental Perspective

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Monika Koul
Netra Bhandari


The recent “Global report on Food Crises” published by Food Security Information Network (FSIN, 2017) calls for intervention in methods and technologies to improve the quality and timeliness of food security and tackle the present food crises. India has a huge challenge to feed 1.32 billion and it is a daunting task. Droughts and other meteorological phenomena including, climate change, increase in pollution levels and spread of plant diseases and pests are some of the most common problems that continue to have an impact on food production. In order to manage crop diseases and reduce crop losses, low cost broadspectrum insecticides have been synthesized. Farmers are using these both in situ and ex situ to save the crops and minimize the losses. However, all major pesticides have been found to have detrimental effects on social insects, and insects develop resistance to these after consistent and rampant use. Prolonged residence time of these in the environment also have harmful health implications and sometimes cause irreversible damage to human health. Therefore, time and again scientists are at look out for novel products and chemicals that can help in managing pests. The use and discovery of neonicotinoids proved to be a novel innovative method in diseases management of major crops. The newly discovered family of pesticides is attributed with various properties that are inherently different from other pesticides, and have the potential to kill a bouquet of crop pests including those that affect fruits, vegetables, fish and veterinary without conferring any resistance to them. However, the rampant use of neonicotinoids for crop protection has resulted in many unforeseen environmental problems. It is important to look for alternatives for the existing ones to tackle the human health problems. Scientists are also looking at decreasing the doses and treatment methods to reduce the impact on agro-ecosystems. A paradigm shift is required in crop management practices and indiscriminate use has to be stopped. Discovery of new generation neonicotinoids with interdisciplinary approach is one of the ways to tackle the present problems and meet the future challenges. Though, there are evidences that these novel formulations show developmental neurotoxicity, the dosage and frequency of applications show variable response. Research in this field is further required to substantiate the evidences of these insecticides to be safe to environment.

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Koul M, Bhandari N. Looking at Neonicotinoid Insecticides: Environmental Perspective. IJPE [Internet]. 2018Jul.31 [cited 2024Jul.14];4(02):97-101. Available from: https://ijplantenviro.com/index.php/IJPE/article/view/1275
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