"Pesticides still constitute an integral part of modern agriculture. Upon their release, pesticides interact with soil microbes in contrasting ways. On the one hand they stimulate microbial activity and proliferation of a specific fraction of the microbial community which could utilize them as energy source resulting in their rapid biodegradation and loss of biological efficacy. On the other hand they induce inhibitory effects on the structure and/or on the function of the microbial community, the latter having detrimental effects on ecosystem functioning. So far pesticide legislation has largely ignored these aspects and pesticide soil ecotoxicity tests relies solely on simple C and N mineralization tests which do not provide a reliable assessment of pesticide impact on soil microbes. The introduction of fingerprinting molecular methods, qPCR, high throughput sequencing analysis, microarrays and –omics have substantially advanced our knowledge on soil microbial ecology. However, these dynamic tools have not been utilized yet to shed light into soil microbes - pesticides interactions. This project aims to introduce these highly dynamic tools in combination with chemical analysis of pesticides and their metabolites to shed light into those interactions and the factors deciding which way the balance with go (stimulation or inhibition). This will be achieved via collaboration of two industrial and three academic partners with complementary expertise in molecular microbial ecology, soil microbiology, pesticide metabolism and the establishment of a staff exchange scheme. This apart from the achievement of the scientific and technological goals of the project will facilitate technology transfer between partners and open communication channels between Academia - Industry. Further the project is expected to support increasing communication with standardization foundations (ISO) and EU policy making bodies regarding pesticides (EFSA)"
Fields of science
Call for proposal
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