Pesticides in Natural Ecosystems

Authored by: J.K. Dubey , Meena Thakur

Managing Global Resources and Universal Processes

Print publication date:  July  2020
Online publication date:  July  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138342637
eBook ISBN: 9780429346132
Adobe ISBN:


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Pesticides have played a very important role in enhancing and boosting the world food production. However, their continuous and indiscriminate use has posed various ecological problems. Apart from creating environmental problems, pesticides and their metabolites have entered various natural ecosystems, i.e., aquatic, terrestrial, soil, etc. Several groups of organochlorine pesticides such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloethane (DDT), endosulfan, and chlorinated phenoxy acetic acid used as herbicides, and fungicides such as hexachlorobenzene and pentachlorophenol are major pollutants polluting various water bodies and affecting the aquatic fauna. Extensive use of pesticides has resulted in outbreaks of many serious pests, e.g., codling moth, leafrollers, aphids, scales, and tetranychid mites and in the decline of the population of pollinators and natural enemies. Herbicides, such as atrazine, have been found to feminize frogs, leading to sterility in males and many adverse effects on humans. Human health is always at risk when chemical residues are present in higher amounts to our food supplies. Integrated pest management emphasizes the need for simpler and ecologically safer measures for pest control to reduce environmental pollution. Preference may be given to organic produce grown without toxic pesticides. The objective of this entry is to provide basic knowledge pertaining to pesticide exposure and to understand issues on residues in the natural ecosystem.

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