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Agrochemicals, Volume 2, Issue 2 (June 2023) – 9 articles

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18 pages, 1350 KiB  
Review
Effects of Pesticides on the Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Symbiosis
by Marcela C. Pagano, Matthew Kyriakides and Thom W. Kuyper
Agrochemicals 2023, 2(2), 337-354; https://doi.org/10.3390/agrochemicals2020020 - 14 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2557
Abstract
Substantial amounts of pesticides, used in agricultural production to control pests, diseases, and weeds, and thereby attain high product quantities and quality, can severely affect the ecosystem and human health. The amounts of pesticides used depend on the specifics of the current production [...] Read more.
Substantial amounts of pesticides, used in agricultural production to control pests, diseases, and weeds, and thereby attain high product quantities and quality, can severely affect the ecosystem and human health. The amounts of pesticides used depend on the specifics of the current production system but also exhibit large effects of past practices. Pesticides do not act only on the target organisms but also on organisms for which the chemicals were not specifically formulated, constituting hazardous molecules for humans and the environment. Pesticides, therefore, also influence soil microbial communities including organisms that engage in mutualistic plant symbioses that play a crucial role in its mineral nutrition, such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the effects of synthetic and natural (‘green’) pesticides (fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides) on arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis. We deal with both the direct effects (spore germination and extraradical and intraradical growth of the mycelium) and indirect effects on the agroecosystem level. Such indirect effects include effects through the spread of herbicide-resistant crops and weeds to neighboring ecosystems, thereby modifying the mycorrhizal inoculum potential and altering the plant–plant interactions. We also briefly discuss the possibility that mycorrhizal plants can be used to enhance the phytoremediation of organic pesticides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pesticides)
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41 pages, 2982 KiB  
Review
Nanofertilizers: Types, Delivery and Advantages in Agricultural Sustainability
by Anurag Yadav, Kusum Yadav and Kamel A. Abd-Elsalam
Agrochemicals 2023, 2(2), 296-336; https://doi.org/10.3390/agrochemicals2020019 - 09 Jun 2023
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 16033
Abstract
In an alarming tale of agricultural excess, the relentless overuse of chemical fertilizers in modern farming methods have wreaked havoc on the once-fertile soil, mercilessly depleting its vital nutrients while inflicting irreparable harm on the delicate balance of the surrounding ecosystem. The excessive [...] Read more.
In an alarming tale of agricultural excess, the relentless overuse of chemical fertilizers in modern farming methods have wreaked havoc on the once-fertile soil, mercilessly depleting its vital nutrients while inflicting irreparable harm on the delicate balance of the surrounding ecosystem. The excessive use of such fertilizers leaves residue on agricultural products, pollutes the environment, upsets agrarian ecosystems, and lowers soil quality. Furthermore, a significant proportion of the nutrient content, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, is lost from the soil (50–70%) before being utilized. Nanofertilizers, on the other hand, use nanoparticles to control the release of nutrients, making them more efficient and cost-effective than traditional fertilizers. Nanofertilizers comprise one or more plant nutrients within nanoparticles where at least 50% of the particles are smaller than 100 nanometers. Carbon nanotubes, graphene, and quantum dots are some examples of the types of nanomaterials used in the production of nanofertilizers. Nanofertilizers are a new generation of fertilizers that utilize advanced nanotechnology to provide an efficient and sustainable method of fertilizing crops. They are designed to deliver plant nutrients in a controlled manner, ensuring that the nutrients are gradually released over an extended period, thus providing a steady supply of essential elements to the plants. The controlled-release system is more efficient than traditional fertilizers, as it reduces the need for frequent application and the amount of fertilizer. These nanomaterials have a high surface area-to-volume ratio, making them ideal for holding and releasing nutrients. Naturally occurring nanoparticles are found in various sources, including volcanic ash, ocean, and biological matter such as viruses and dust. However, regarding large-scale production, relying solely on naturally occurring nanoparticles may not be sufficient or practical. In agriculture, nanotechnology has been primarily used to increase crop production while minimizing losses and activating plant defense mechanisms against pests, insects, and other environmental challenges. Furthermore, nanofertilizers can reduce runoff and nutrient leaching into the environment, improving environmental sustainability. They can also improve fertilizer use efficiency, leading to higher crop yields and reducing the overall cost of fertilizer application. Nanofertilizers are especially beneficial in areas where traditional fertilizers are inefficient or ineffective. Nanofertilizers can provide a more efficient and cost-effective way to fertilize crops while reducing the environmental impact of fertilizer application. They are the product of promising new technology that can help to meet the increasing demand for food and improve agricultural sustainability. Currently, nanofertilizers face limitations, including higher costs of production and potential environmental and safety concerns due to the use of nanomaterials, while further research is needed to fully understand their long-term effects on soil health, crop growth, and the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nano-Agrochemicals)
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17 pages, 2311 KiB  
Article
Neonicotinoid Sunflower Seed Treatment, While Not Detected in Pollen and Nectar, Still Impacts Wild Bees and Crop Yield
by Laura T. Ward, Michelle L. Hladik, Aidee Guzman, Ariana Bautista and Nicholas J. Mills
Agrochemicals 2023, 2(2), 279-295; https://doi.org/10.3390/agrochemicals2020018 - 06 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1745
Abstract
Neonicotinoid seed treatments are commonly used in agricultural production even though their benefit to crop yield and their impact on pollinators, particularly wild bees, remains unclear. Using an on-farm matched pair design in which half of each field was sown with thiamethoxam treated [...] Read more.
Neonicotinoid seed treatments are commonly used in agricultural production even though their benefit to crop yield and their impact on pollinators, particularly wild bees, remains unclear. Using an on-farm matched pair design in which half of each field was sown with thiamethoxam treated seed and half without, we assessed honey bee and wild bee exposure to pesticides in sunflower fields by analyzing pesticide residues in field soil, sunflower pollen and nectar, pollen-foraging and nectar-foraging honey bees, and a sunflower specialist wild bee (Melissodes agilis). We also quantified the effects of thiamethoxam-treated seed on wild bee biodiversity and crop yield. M. agilis abundance was significantly lower with thiamethoxam treatment and overall wild bee abundance trending lower but was not significantly different. Furthermore, crop yield was significantly lower in plots with thiamethoxam treatment, even though thiamethoxam was only detected at low concentrations in one soil sample (and its primary metabolite, clothianidin, was never detected). Conversely, wild bee richness was significantly higher and diversity was marginally higher with thiamethoxam treatment. Nectar volumes harvested from the nectar-foraging honey bees were also significantly higher with thiamethoxam treatment. Several pesticides that were not used in the sunflower fields were detected in our samples, some of which are known to be deleterious to bee health, highlighting the importance of the landscape scale in the assessment of pesticide exposure for bees. Overall, our results suggest that thiamethoxam seed treatments may negatively impact wild bee pollination services in sunflower. Importantly, this study highlights the advantages of the inclusion of other metrics, such as biodiversity or behavior, in pesticide risk analysis, as pesticide residue analysis, as an independent metric, may erroneously miss the impacts of field realistic pesticide exposure on bees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers to Celebrate the Inaugural Issue of Agrochemicals)
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22 pages, 2521 KiB  
Review
Nanofertilizers: The Next Generation of Agrochemicals for Long-Term Impact on Sustainability in Farming Systems
by Aniket Gade, Pramod Ingle, Utkarsha Nimbalkar, Mahendra Rai, Rajesh Raut, Mahesh Vedpathak, Pratik Jagtap and Kamel A. Abd-Elsalam
Agrochemicals 2023, 2(2), 257-278; https://doi.org/10.3390/agrochemicals2020017 - 05 Jun 2023
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4326
Abstract
The microflora of the soil is adversely affected by chemical fertilizers. Excessive use of chemical fertilizers has increased crop yield dramatically at the cost of soil vigor. The pH of the soil is temporarily changed by chemical fertilizers, which kill the beneficial soil [...] Read more.
The microflora of the soil is adversely affected by chemical fertilizers. Excessive use of chemical fertilizers has increased crop yield dramatically at the cost of soil vigor. The pH of the soil is temporarily changed by chemical fertilizers, which kill the beneficial soil microflora and can cause absorption stress on crop plants. This leads to higher dosages during the application, causing groundwater leaching and environmental toxicity. Nanofertilizers (NFs) reduce the quantity of fertilizer needed in agriculture, enhance nutrient uptake efficiency, and decrease fertilizer loss due to runoff and leaching. Moreover, NFs can be used for soil or foliar applications and have shown promising results in a variety of plant species. The main constituents of nanomaterials are micro- and macronutrient precursors and their properties at the nanoscale. Innovative approaches to their application as a growth promoter for crops, their modes of application, and the mechanism of absorption in plant tissues are reviewed in this article. In addition, the review analyzes potential shortcomings and future considerations for the commercial agricultural application of NFs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Fertilizers and Soil Improvement Agents)
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37 pages, 2036 KiB  
Review
Emerging Frontiers in Nanotechnology for Precision Agriculture: Advancements, Hurdles and Prospects
by Anurag Yadav, Kusum Yadav, Rumana Ahmad and Kamel A. Abd-Elsalam
Agrochemicals 2023, 2(2), 220-256; https://doi.org/10.3390/agrochemicals2020016 - 31 May 2023
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4903
Abstract
This review article provides an extensive overview of the emerging frontiers of nanotechnology in precision agriculture, highlighting recent advancements, hurdles, and prospects. The benefits of nanotechnology in this field include the development of advanced nanomaterials for enhanced seed germination and micronutrient supply, along [...] Read more.
This review article provides an extensive overview of the emerging frontiers of nanotechnology in precision agriculture, highlighting recent advancements, hurdles, and prospects. The benefits of nanotechnology in this field include the development of advanced nanomaterials for enhanced seed germination and micronutrient supply, along with the alleviation of biotic and abiotic stress. Further, nanotechnology-based fertilizers and pesticides can be delivered in lower dosages, which reduces environmental impacts and human health hazards. Another significant advantage lies in introducing cutting-edge nanodiagnostic systems and nanobiosensors that monitor soil quality parameters, plant diseases, and stress, all of which are critical for precision agriculture. Additionally, this technology has demonstrated potential in reducing agro-waste, synthesizing high-value products, and using methods and devices for tagging, monitoring, and tracking agroproducts. Alongside these developments, cloud computing and smartphone-based biosensors have emerged as crucial data collection and analysis tools. Finally, this review delves into the economic, legal, social, and risk implications of nanotechnology in agriculture, which must be thoroughly examined for the technology’s widespread adoption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nano-Agrochemicals)
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17 pages, 945 KiB  
Article
Sydnone Imines: A Novel Class of Plant Growth Regulators
by Alexander S. Lukatkin, Anastasia S. Sokolova, Andrey A. Lukatkin, Ilya A. Cherepanov, Natalia V. Kalganova and Sergey K. Moiseev
Agrochemicals 2023, 2(2), 203-219; https://doi.org/10.3390/agrochemicals2020015 - 18 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1143
Abstract
An increase in the yield of the main cereal crops in the context of global climate changes requires additional impacts on plants. Natural and synthetic plant growth regulators (PGRs) are used to increase plant productivity and reduce the injury level caused by abiotic [...] Read more.
An increase in the yield of the main cereal crops in the context of global climate changes requires additional impacts on plants. Natural and synthetic plant growth regulators (PGRs) are used to increase plant productivity and reduce the injury level caused by abiotic stressors. There is a growing need for novel highly effective plant growth stimulants to exhibit their effects at low doses and to not pose an environmental threat or injury to the crop quality. The derivatives of sydnone imine (SI), a mesoionic heterocycle possessing a 1,2,3-oxadiazole core, have been used as medicines until now but have not been used for agricultural applications. Some SI derivatives have recently been found to exhibit PGR properties. Herein, we report on the study of the PGR potential of nine SI derivatives bearing variable substituents at N(3), C(4), and N6 positions of the heterocycle designed to disclose the “molecular structure-PGR activity” relationship in this family. The SI derivatives were used in a wide concentration range (10−9–10−4 mol/L) for a pre-sowing treatment of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L., two cultivars) and maize (Zea mays L., two hybrids) seeds in germinating experiments. All compounds were found to affect the growth of the axial organs of germinants, with the growth-stimulating or -inhibitory effect as well as its rate being considerably different for wheat and maize and, in many cases, also for roots and shoots. In addition, a pronounced concentration dependence of the effect was disclosed for many cases. The features of the molecular structure of SIs affecting their growth-regulating properties were elucidated. Compounds 4, 6, 7, and 8, which had exhibited a growth-promoting effect in germinating experiments, were used at appropriate concentrations for pot experiments on the same crops. For all compounds, the experiments showed a stimulating effect on the growth of roots (up to 80%), shoots (up to 112%), leaf area (up to 113%), fresh weights of roots (up to 83%), and aerial parts of the plants (up to 87%) or only on some of these parameters. The obtained results show a healthy outlook for the use of SI derivatives as promoting agents for improving the growth of cereal crop plants. Full article
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10 pages, 1795 KiB  
Article
Influence of Chemical Control on the Floristic Composition of Weeds in the Initial and Pre-Harvest Development Stages of the Sunflower Crop
by Elielton Germano dos Santos, Miriam Hiroko Inoue, Ana Carolina Dias Guimarães, Jennifer Stefany Queiroz Bastos, Ricardo Alcántara-de la Cruz and Kassio Ferreira Mendes
Agrochemicals 2023, 2(2), 193-202; https://doi.org/10.3390/agrochemicals2020014 - 15 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1067
Abstract
The presence of weeds in the sunflower crop is one of the main factors linked to the low increase in productivity of this crop, and to determine the most appropriate management of weeds, it is essential to carry out a diagnosis through the [...] Read more.
The presence of weeds in the sunflower crop is one of the main factors linked to the low increase in productivity of this crop, and to determine the most appropriate management of weeds, it is essential to carry out a diagnosis through the phytosociological survey. The objective of this study was to assess the influence of chemical control on the phytosociological community of weeds in three areas cultivated with sunflower in the Parecis region (Brazil). The areas were treated with 2,4-D + glyphosate for desiccation; S-metolachlor was used for pre-emergence control in the three areas; meanwhile, sulfentrazone and flumioxazin were applied only in one area; and, finally, clethodim was applied for post-emergence weed management. Sampling was carried out at two different times, in the initial and pre-harvest stages (at 35 and 100 days after the emergence of the crop, respectively), using a quadrate, in which weeds were identified and quantified to determine the frequency, relative frequency, density, relative density, abundance, relative abundance, importance index, and similarity index between areas and times. Seventeen weed species were found in the sunflower crop (70.6% dicot and 29.4% monocotyledonous) in the two seasons, grouped into nine botanical families, with Poaceae being the most diverse family. The dicots Tridax procumbens and Acanthospermum hispidium were present in low frequency only in the initial stages of development of the sunflower crop. The weeds with the highest importance index values in the initial and pre-harvest stages were Euphorbia hirta (104 and 91%) and Bidens pilosa (45 and 66%, respectively), both belonging to the dicots group. These two species were present in the two evaluated periods and in the three experimental areas, demonstrating that there was a similarity index between them with values above 93%. These results of the phytosociological study may contribute to determining more efficient management strategies for weed chemical control in the sunflower crop. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers to Celebrate the Inaugural Issue of Agrochemicals)
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12 pages, 1621 KiB  
Article
Fungicide Scent Pollution Disrupts Floral Search-and-Selection in the Bumblebee Bombus impatiens
by Nour Yousry, Paige Henderson and Jordanna Sprayberry
Agrochemicals 2023, 2(2), 181-192; https://doi.org/10.3390/agrochemicals2020013 - 18 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1571
Abstract
Bumblebees are valuable generalist pollinators. However, micro- and macro-stressors on bumblebees negatively impact both foraging efficiency and pollination efficacy. Given that colonies have a resource threshold for successful reproduction, factors that decrease foraging efficiency could negatively impact conservation efforts. Recently, agrochemical odor pollution [...] Read more.
Bumblebees are valuable generalist pollinators. However, micro- and macro-stressors on bumblebees negatively impact both foraging efficiency and pollination efficacy. Given that colonies have a resource threshold for successful reproduction, factors that decrease foraging efficiency could negatively impact conservation efforts. Recently, agrochemical odor pollution has been shown to hinder floral odor learning and recognition in Bombus impatiens via an associative odor learning assay (FMPER). These results may have implications for the field foraging behavior of bumblebees. Building on this prior work, our study aimed to determine if negative effects of fungicides on associative odor learning and recognition scale up to negative impacts on actively foraging bumblebees. These experiments investigated whether the presence of a background fungicide odor (Reliant® Systemic Fungicide) impacts the location of a learned floral resource (lily of the valley-scented blue flowers) in a wind tunnel. Experiments were run with and without early access to visual cues to determine if fungicide odor pollution is more impactful on bees that are engaged in olfactory versus visual navigation. Fungicide odor pollution reduced landing frequency in both paradigms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers to Celebrate the Inaugural Issue of Agrochemicals)
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11 pages, 1831 KiB  
Article
Multiple Pesticide Resistance in Rust-Red Flour Beetle (Tribolium castaneum, Herbst 1797) from Northern Nigeria Is Probably Driven by Metabolic Mechanisms
by Muhammad M. Mukhtar, Muhammad A. Mustapha, Mubarak Aliyu and Sulaiman S. Ibrahim
Agrochemicals 2023, 2(2), 170-180; https://doi.org/10.3390/agrochemicals2020012 - 06 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1976
Abstract
There is a severe lack of information about molecular mechanisms of pesticide resistance in the rust-red flour beetle, a major pest destroying grains and flour across Nigeria, hindering evidence-based control. Here, we identified to the species level three populations of the red flour [...] Read more.
There is a severe lack of information about molecular mechanisms of pesticide resistance in the rust-red flour beetle, a major pest destroying grains and flour across Nigeria, hindering evidence-based control. Here, we identified to the species level three populations of the red flour beetle from Kano, Nigeria, as Tribolium castaneum (Herbst 1797) and investigated the mechanism driving their insecticide resistance. The IRAC susceptibility bioassays established cypermethrin resistance, with LC50s of 4.35–5.46 mg/mL in the three populations, NNFM, R/Zaki and Yankaba. DDT and malathion resistance were observed in NNFM, with LC50s of 15.32 mg/mL and 3.71 mg/mL, respectively. High susceptibility was observed towards dichlorvos in all three populations with LC50s of 0.17–0.35 mg/mL. The synergist bioassay with piperonylbutoxide significantly restored cypermethrin susceptibility, with mortality increasing almost threefold, from 24.8% obtained with 1.5 mg/mL of cypermethrin to 63.3% in the synergised group (p = 0.013), suggesting a preeminent role of P450s. The two major knockdown resistance (kdr) mutations, T929I and L1014F, in the IIS4 and IIS6 fragments of the voltage-gated sodium channel were not detected in both cypermethrin-alive and cypermethrin-dead beetles, suggesting a lesser role of target-site insensitivity mechanisms. These findings highlight the need to explore alternative control tools for this pest and/or utilise synergists, such as piperonyl butoxide, as additional chemistries in pesticide formulations to improve their efficacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers to Celebrate the Inaugural Issue of Agrochemicals)
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