Variability of Pesticide Dissipation Half-Lives in Plants

Peter Fantke, Ronnie Juraske

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Information on dissipation kinetics of pesticides in food crops and other plants is a key aspect in current risk and impact assessment practice. This is because human exposure to pesticides is predominantly caused by residues in agricultural crops grown for human and animal consumption. However, modeling dissipation of pesticides in plants is highly uncertain and therefore strongly relies on experimental data. Unfortunately, available information on pesticide dissipation in plants from experimental studies only covers a small fraction of possible combinations of substances authorized for use on food and fodder crops. Additionally, aspects and processes influencing dissipation kinetics are still not fully understood. Therefore, we systematically reviewed 811 scientific literature sources providing 4513 dissipation half-lives of 346 pesticides measured in 183 plant species. We focused on the variability across substances, plant species and harvested plant components and finally discuss different substance, plant and environmental aspects influencing pesticide dissipation. Measured half-lives in harvested plant materials range from around 1 hour for pyrethrins in leaves of tomato and pepper fruit to 918 days for pyriproxyfen in pepper fruits under cold storage conditions. Ninety-five percent of all half-lives fall within the range between 0.6 and 29 days. Our results emphasize that future experiments are required to analyze pesticide–plant species combinations that have so far not been covered and that are relevant for human exposure. In addition, prediction models would help to assess all possible pesticide–plant species combinations in the context of comparative studies. The combination of both would finally reduce uncertainty and improve assumptions in current risk and impact assessment practice.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology (Washington)
    Issue number8
    Pages (from-to)3548–3562
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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