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Periodic Reporting for period 1 - KNOWPEC (KNOWLEDGE FOR PESTICIDES CONTROL)

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2018-06-30

KNOWPEC, Knowledge for pesticides control, aims to create a transnational research network between Europe and Latin America focused on the challenge of unwanted pesticides in the environment. KNOWPEC is funded by the EU’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (H2020-MSCA-RISE-2015).

The main objective of KNOWPEC is 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 wants 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 is promoting the sharing of knowledge at each step from pesticide analysis, toxicity and risk assessment to advanced water treatment technologies that jointly enables the design of sustainable solutions to each pesticide pollution problem. Moreover, it’s creating the tools of information and networking for a source of collaboration between European and Latin American institutions under the framework of the environmental and human protection from pesticides.
During the first two years (from July 2016 to June 2018), KNOWPEC involved 13 staff from the seven institutions in a program which include researchers exchange, workshops and sharing publications aimed at developing research collaboration between the two regions (Europe and Latin America) in the field of pesticides pollution control.
KNOWPEC is contributing 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 application of knowledge from a network of experts in chemical analysis, environmental toxicity and risk assessment, and innovative water treatment technologies in training future specialists, is also contributing to safeguarding drinking water supplies and providing solutions for sustainable food production, and a sustainable environment.
In order to accomplish these objectives, KNOWPEC is organized into 6 work packages. Work packages 1, 2 and 3 are focused on three main disciplines:

WP1: Pesticide occurrence assessment, coordinated by the DEMOCRITUS UNIVERSITY OF THRACE
WP 2: Toxicity and environmental risks assessment of occurred pesticides, coordinated by the UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN
WP 3: Pesticide remediation by advanced water treatments, coordinated by the UNIVERSITY OF BARCELONA

There is a fourth WP, overseen by FERA SCIENCE Ltd, that aggregates the knowledge and results obtained in the three previous research WPs, supplemented by other existing information, and this WP is devoted to the proposal of pollution mitigation strategies, in each American country participating in the project: WP4: Cases of study: Analyse data and propose solutions. The third country partners are The UNIVERSITY OF COSTA RICA, The UNIVERSITY OF BUENOS AIRES and UNIVERSIDAD MAYOR DE SAN SIMÓN, in Bolivia.
Moreover, Work package 5 mission is dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge between participant institutions, and also to scientific community. Finally, work package 6 assures the proper management activities to accomplish with all the previous objectives.

Specifically, the work packages yielded the following scientific achievements:

Work package 1 developed and validated analytical methods for the determination of atrazine, deethylatrazine, deisopropylatrazine, hydroxyatrazine, terbuthylazine and s-metolachlor in water samples. It also monitored atrazine, deethylatrazine, deisopropylatrazine, hydroxyatrazine, terbuthylazine and s-metolachlor in groundwater 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 remediation systems.

Work package 2 has involved undertaking a cumulative risk assessment for aquatic organisms using the measured pesticide data from Bolivian streams (Cuenca de Pucara, Cochabamba). WP2 activities currently include training 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.

Work package 3 research work has focused on the effect of solar and UV-C radiation on the removal of the pesticide, dichlorvos, plus the formation of byproducts. This study has improved our understanding of the fate of dichlorvos in natural waters, and by extension, the fate of organophosphate pesticides, in same. Moreover, it is also very interesting to know what is the fate of pesticides when UV-C irradiation is used for disinfection of drinking water and wastewaters. A new solar reactor prototype was also developed.
The main objectives of Work package 4 will be undertaken in the second half of the project and this will build on the findings of WPs 1 – 3.

The KNOWPEC project has already accomplished 17 secondments between European and American institutions. Moreover, two multidisciplinary workshops were successfully organized, first in Costa Rica (February 2017) and second in Argentina (February 2018). In both workshops, an average of between 25 to 50 people of different disciplines and society stakeholders (academic, government, private companies, agricultural organizations, etc.) participated in every session of the workshop. In addition, to date, KNOWPEC participants have presented their results at 4 international congresses specialising in pesticides pollution control and written 5 papers (1 published, 1 under review and 3 in preparation) for publication 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. Thus, research efforts in topics such as diagnosis of emergent pollutants, or water pollutant removal are of strategic importance worldwide.
KNOWPEC targets important scientific objectives on pesticide pollution characterization and control in different geographical regions of Latin America. Work already developed is starting a novel pollution diagnostic and potential environmental risk assessment of several water sources in Bolivia and Costa Rica. Moreover, it is contributing the development of knowledge on water treatment methods that are not resource-intensive and are economically advantageous and relevant to the host country by using solar energy. Therefore, the project is contributing to positive environmental, societal but also economic impact since the underlying objective is to use society's resources in a sustainable manner whilst addressing a major concern of society. KNOWPEC is assuring 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