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Periodic Reporting for period 2 - KNOWPEC (KNOWLEDGE FOR PESTICIDES CONTROL)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2018-07-01 do 2022-06-30

KNOWPEC, Knowledge for pesticides control, aimed to create a transnational research network between Europe and Latin America focused on the challenge of unwanted pesticides in the environment. KNOWPEC was funded by the EU’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (H2020-MSCA-RISE-2015).
The main objective of KNOWPEC was to identify the occurrence and fate of banned and other toxic pesticides in drinking and natural waters in agricultural areas of Latin America where knowledge on occurrence and risk is scarce. KNOWPEC wanted to assess the environmental and potential human risks of the pesticides detected, and to provide solutions for both reducing pollution at source, and remediating contaminated water. Together, KNOWPEC promoted the sharing of knowledge at each step from pesticide analysis, toxicity and risk assessment to advanced water treatment technologies that jointly enabled the design of sustainable solutions to each pesticide pollution problem.
KNOWPEC contributed to an increase in the knowledge of pesticide pollution in potable and natural waters in selected Latin America locations providing typical (or exemplary) cases of widespread agricultural practices and ecological regions. This, together with the training of future specialists by a network of experts in chemical analysis, environmental toxicity, environmental risk assessment, and innovative water treatment technologies also contributed to safeguarding drinking water supplies and providing solutions for sustainable food production, and a sustainable environment, tailored towards the economic and physical resources and needs of the specific countries.
KNOWPEC work packages were focused on three main disciplines: Pesticide occurrence assessment, toxicity and environmental risks assessment of occurred pesticides and pesticide remediation by advanced water treatments.
Specifically, the work packages yielded the following scientific achievements:
Work package 1 developed and validated analytical methods for the determination of a number of pesticides in water samples, like samples of 10 wells in Northeastern Greece. Simultaneously, some pesticide analytical methods in water samples already used by CICA, were improved and implemented. Finally, secondees from CICA worked on the removal of terbuthylazine from agricultural wastewater in two different bioremediation systems.
Work package 2 involved undertaking a cumulative risk assessment for aquatic organisms using the measured pesticide data from Bolivian streams (Cuenca de Pucara, Cochabamba). It also included training activities in conducting ecotoxicity studies of pesticide mixtures, using representative pesticide-contaminated water samples from Costa Rica, and using these measured data to develop predictive cumulative risk assessments in surface waters (La Mula and Machuca-Jesús María).
Work package 3 research work focused on the use of solar radiation on the removal of the pesticides (naturally or in assisted processes). An important part of the experimentation was validated at pilot plant scale and on-site (Cochabamba, Bolivia). Among the processes studied, the use of some fertilizers as an iron source for the catalytic photo-Fenton reaction with solar radiation yielded good performances on pesticide depletion in waters.
At the same time, three multidisciplinary workshops were successfully organized, first in Costa Rica (February 2017), second in Argentina (February 2018) and third in Bolivia (February 2019). In all workshops, an average of between 25 to 100 researchers of different disciplines and society stakeholders (academic, government, private companies, agricultural organizations, etc.) participated in every session of the workshops.

Through secondments and workshops, KNOWPEC joined pesticide experts from Latin America together with Europeans, to study the whole pesticide chain (import-export, trade, application, plant protection-efficacy, residues, monitoring, remediation and risk). It planned different activities (research work, workshops, field trips, meetings with stakeholders, etc.) to gain a better understanding of both country-specific and common issues. The results were used to make a reliable diagnosis of the problem in selected areas by identifying the occurrence and fate of pesticides in natural waters, some toxicity evaluations and proposing general guidance for national pesticide prioritzation and monitoring scheme with the ultimate aim of protecting water bodies of LA countries.

Results from KNOWPEC have been presented at 8 international congresses specializing in pesticides pollution control and published in 8 in international peer-review journals.
Problems related to water pollution, such as pesticide occurrence, continue to emerge concerning scientists, governments and local communities alike. Water quality and water remediation have become crucial issues, made even more urgent by the diminishing availability of water resources on the planet. On the other hand, there are large differences between Latin American (LA) countries with regards to the registration, application strategy (chemical classes, quantities), policies (restrictions, remediation actions) and knowledge (environmental and human health risk) of pesticides in agriculture. However, some policies to minimize risk from pesticides used are from Europe and the USA even though the underlying approaches rely on national-or regional-specific scenarios. Consequently, factors affecting the environmental fate and toxicity of pesticides in their own countries can be grossly underestimated. Summarizing, there are severe knowledge gaps about extent of pesticide pollution in natural waters in the Central and South America region, knowledge gaps that impede the development of effective policies aimed at protecting ecosystems and the local population.

KNOWPEC targeted important scientific objectives on pesticide pollution characterization and control in different geographical regions of Latin America. Work developed allowed novel pollution diagnostic and the identification of weaknesses in the current environmental risk assessment of pesticides in their legislation. Moreover, through review of monitoring studies, interviews with farmers, agronomists, pesticide distributors and environmentalists we had the opportunity to categorize the main point- and diffuse-source pollution sites.
In addition to the scientific aspects, the physical relocation of researchers between and within Europe and Latin America highlighted the cultural differences. These differences were important to comprehend in order to understand the extent to which existing e.g. regulatory and mitigation approaches could be adapted in the different countries and also for future international collaborations.
Finally, the KNOWPEC project developed water treatment methods that are not resource-intensive and are economically advantageous and relevant to the host country by using solar energy and bioprocesses. Therefore, the project has contributed to positive environmental, societal and also economic gains since the underlying objective is to use society's resources in a sustainable manner whilst addressing a major concern of society. KNOWPEC assured these objectives whilst also training new, skilled researchers which will be an added value for European and American research and industry.
Problems on site
Field trips and dissemination activities
First Workshop in Costa Rica