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Fungicides: An overlooked pesticide class?

March 5, 2019

Fungicides are indispensable to global food security and their use is forecasted to intensify. Fungicides can reach aquatic ecosystems and occur in surface water bodies in agricultural catchments throughout the whole growing season due to their frequent, prophylactic application. However, in comparison to herbicides and insecticides, the exposure to and effects of fungicides have received less attention. We provide an overview of the risk of fungicides to aquatic ecosystems covering fungicide exposure (i.e., environmental fate, exposure modelling, and mitigation measures) as well as direct and indirect effects of fungicides on microorganisms, macrophytes, invertebrates, and vertebrates. We show that fungicides occur widely in aquatic systems, that the accuracy of predicted environmental concentrations is debatable, and that fungicide exposure can be effectively mitigated. We additionally demonstrate that fungicides can be highly toxic to a broad range of organisms and can pose a risk to aquatic biota. Finally, we outline central research gaps that currently challenge our ability to predict fungicide exposure and effects, promising research avenues, and shortcomings of the current environmental risk assessment for fungicides.

Publication Year 2019
Title Fungicides: An overlooked pesticide class?
DOI 10.1021/acs.est.8b04392
Authors Jochen Zubrod, Micro Bundschuh, Gertie Arts, Carsten Bruhl, Gwenaël Imfeld, Anja Knäbel, Sylvain Payraudeau, Jes J Rasmussen, Jason Rohr, Andreas Scharmüller, Kelly L. Smalling, Sebastian Stehle, Ralf Schulz, Ralf B. Schäfer
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Environmental Science & Technology
Index ID 70202915
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization New Jersey Water Science Center