Modeling ecotoxicity impacts in vineyard production: Addressing spatial differentiation for copper fungicides

Nancy Peña*, Assumpció Antón, Andreas Kamilaris, Peter Fantke

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    Application of plant protection products (PPP) is a fundamental practice for viticulture. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has proved to be a useful tool to assess the environmental performance of agricultural production, where including toxicity-related impacts for PPP use is still associated with methodological limitations, especially for inorganic (i.e. metal-based) pesticides. Downy mildew is one of the most severe diseases for vineyard production. For disease control, copper-based fungicides are the most effective and used PPP in both conventional and organic viticulture. This study aims to improve the toxicity-related characterization of copper-based fungicides (Cu) for LCA studies. Potential freshwater ecotoxicity impacts of 12 active ingredients used to control downy mildew in European vineyards were quantified and compared. Soil ecotoxicity impacts were calculated for specific soil chemistries and textures. To introduce spatial differentiation for Cu in freshwater and soil ecotoxicity characterization, we used 7 European water archetypes and a set of 15,034 non-calcareous vineyard soils for 4 agricultural scenarios. Cu ranked as the most impacting substance for potential freshwater ecotoxicity among the 12 studied active ingredients. With the inclusion of spatial differentiation, Cu toxicity potentials vary 3 orders of magnitude, making variation according to water archetypes potentially relevant. In the case of non-calcareous soils ecotoxicity characterization, the variability of Cu impacts in different receiving environments is about 2 orders of magnitude. Our results show that Cu potential toxicity depends mainly on its capacity to interact with the emission site, and the dynamics of this interaction (speciation). These results represent a better approximation to understand Cu potential toxicity impact profiles, assisting decision makers to better understand copper behavior concerning the receiving environment and therefore how restrictions on the use of copper-based fungicides should be considered in relation to the emission site.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Pages (from-to)796-804
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Freshwater ecotoxicity
    • Inorganic pesticides
    • Life cycle assessment (LCA)
    • Non-calcareous vineyards
    • Soil ecotoxicity
    • USEtox


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