Pesticides are subject to a number of laboratory and field tests to ensure that the compound is safe to human health and the environment. One of these tests investigates the rate of pesticide degradation in soil to determine how persistent the compound is in the environment. Currently, tests are conducted in laboratory systems that are kept in the dark and in the field directly after soil tillage. Both techniques prevent the establishment of photosynthetic organisms which can be present at the soil surface under agricultural crops (see photos below). Therefore, current regulatory tests may not accurately assess peticide persistence in soil. My project investigates if the presence of these photosynthetic organisms can impact the rate of pesticide degradation.
Soil Surface Communities under Winter Wheat
Soil Surface Communities under Laboratory Conditions