Free Essay: Pesticide - Environmental Concern

Published: 2023-02-03
Free Essay: Pesticide - Environmental Concern
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Ecology Chemistry Agriculture Pollution
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1034 words
9 min read

The realization of crops and other agricultural products with high yields in terms of both quality and quantity is the chief purpose of using pesticides in agriculture. Generally, pesticides are biological or chemical agents such as fungus, bacterium, and virus that kills incapacitates, discourages, or deters pests (Butcherine, Benkendorff, Kelaher, & Barkla, 2019). The term pesticide covers an expansive scope that includes fungicide, insecticides, rodenticide, herbicides, nematicide, bactericide, molluscicide, among others. However, even though the prime focal point of pesticides is the prevention of all types of pests, its usage is characterized by potential toxicity to the environment (Muth & Leonard, 2019). Therefore, one such pesticide with a relatively high level of toxicity is Neonicotinoid.

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Neonicotinoid Main Active Ingredient and Its Use

Neonicotinoids also referred to as neonics, was discovered in the 1990s to combat the increasing cases of insecticide resistance of that epoch's pesticides. During its discovery, neonicotinoids were regarded to be a desirable pesticide option due to its versatility. The main active ingredients of neonicotinoid pesticide in shrub insect and tree pesticide control is thiamethoxam, acetamiprid, dinotefuran, clothianidin, and imidacloprid (D'Ambrosio, 2016).

The use of neonicotinoid involves applying the pesticide at the root of a plant either in the form of soil drench or seed coating. Alternatively, the use of neonics entails spreading it onto crop foliage (Odemer & Odemer, 2018). After its application, the insecticide toxin maintains its toxicity within the plant for several weeks, thus protecting the crop for a long season (D'Ambrosio, 2016). However, it is critical to note that neonicotinoid is presently under active scrutiny by scientists globally as well as the public because of the pesticide capability of staying long within the environment. The pesticide is also characterized by very high levels of water solubility that is potentially risky for leaching into unintended environmental areas (Butcherine et al., 2019).

The Cornerstone of Xenobiotic Pharmacokinetics affected by Neonicotinoid

Pharmacokinetic data is very prime bearing in mind the hazardous mannerism of Neonicotinoid pesticide to the well-being of several laboratory species. A chief precept of toxicology is the verity that toxic effects emanate from the concentration of the bioactive form taken by a chemical within a target organ (Odemer & Odemer, 2018). Thus, the extent and degree of a toxic response are determined by the amount of the bioactive moiety that can reach the targeted site and its duration in the particular location (Muth & Leonard, 2019). Essentially, therefore, this is the function of the degree of the system of the chemical to absorb, distribute, metabolize, and interact with cellular organs as well as elimination.

Nevertheless, the central nervous system of insects is the affected cornerstone of xenobiotic pharmacokinetics in the working of neonicotinoid. Neonicotinoid works by binding itself onto the enzyme receptors of nicotinic acetylcholine hence resulting in nerves excitation that culminates into the target organism becoming paralyzed and finally dying (D'Ambrosio, 2016). However, it is critical to note that this particular neural pathway is more prevalent in insects as compared to warm-blooded animals. Therefore, neonics is precisely highly noxious to insects as compared to mammals.

Metabolites of Neonicotinoid Active Ingredients, its Toxicity, and Lifespan

The systematic nature of neonicotinoid makes it possible for the pesticide to be absorbed by either the leaves or roots then spread to all the remaining parts of a crop. As a result, the pesticide is actively toxic to relatively all herbivorous insects. However, the toxicity extent of the pesticide is spread across a variable time. The period is dependent on the amount of neonicotinoid applied, the stage of growth of the crop, and the type of plant.

Additionally, neonicotinoid toxicity entails interference of invertebrates' central nervous system by disrupting the neural transmission system. In other words, neonicotinoids principally mimic neurotransmitters' action. As a result of this action, the neurons are incessantly stimulated, thus culminating into the death of a target invertebrate. Regrettably, just like other insecticides, the use of neonicotinoids presents both lethal and sublethal effects on a non-target organism such as insect vertebrates and predators.

Imidacloprid as an active ingredient of neonicotinoid entails roughly 95 percent of its composition undergoing metabolization when applied to plants either as a granule or drench (Butcherine et al., 2019). The metabolites of imidacloprid are very active against insect pests, for example, aphids. The chief metabolites of imidacloprid are 5-dihydroxy, 4-dihydroxy, and olefine (Muth & Leonard, 2019). Also, olefine has been proved to be more than 15 times active on insects' pests compared to imidacloprid since the metabolite is equipped with an acute affinity or attraction for a target site.

Personal Perception of the Suitability and Safety of using Neonicotinoid in the Ecosystem

I stand in total disagreement for the continued use of neonicotinoid due to the unsafety it poses to the overall ecology. At the time of its discovery, neonicotinoid was primarily considered as a fundamental breakthrough in pest control. More so, it was viewed to be safer to birds, livestock, and humans as compared to insects. The treatment of seeds was considered to be a more apropos technique of targeting pests compared to crop foliage spreading as well as more ecologically friendly since it was possible to minimize the number of spraying. However, there is evidential proof of this pesticide posing significant levels of varying and ill-understood dangers to bees as well as other non-targeted invertebrates (Butcherine et al., 2019).

In winding up, even though, neonicotinoid has proved to be useful to farmers due to its systematic action, potency at low concentrations and persistence in crops and soil, the pesticide is unsafe mainly for the overall ecosystem. This is because the breakdown products of neonicotinoid appear to be more toxic than the original pesticide. Therefore, posing high risks and unintended metabolites breakdown that is characterized by toxicity in biotransformation.


Butcherine, P., Benkendorff, K., Kelaher, B., & Barkla, B. J. (2019). The risk of neonicotinoid exposure to shrimp aquaculture. Chemosphere, 217, 329-348. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.10.197

D'Ambrosio, D. A. (2016). Feeding and oviposition by neonicotinoid-resistant and susceptible Frankliniella fusca (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on cotton seedlings grown from neonicotinoid-treated seed. 2016 International Congress of Entomology. doi:10.1603/ice.2016.112731

Muth, F., & Leonard, A. S. (2019). A neonicotinoid pesticide impairs foraging, but not learning, in free-flying bumblebees. Scientific Reports, 9(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-019-39701-5

Odemer, R., & Odemer, F. (2018). Honeybee workers are reared in a neonicotinoid-contaminated in-hive environment. doi:10.1101/420919

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