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Then, the plant manufactures the protein that destroys the pest. Pest resistance is one of the most widely targeted traits in plant genetic modification [ 55 ]; in Arizona cotton genetically modified by inserting Bt toxin from Bacillus thuringiensis to fight the pink bollworm moth Pectinophora gossypiella combined the release of sterile moth with growing genetically modified Bt cotton. Tri-State Greenhouse IPM Workshop [ 6 ] reported that, recently, new substance has been reported as promising compounds for use as biopesticides.

Extract of the Saponaria officinalis root and the nanoparticles showed a very good acaricidal efficacy [ 57 ], the fungus strains of Talaromyces flavus SAY-Y [ 58 ], the fungus Trichoderma harzianum , fermentation products of the bacterium Lactobacillus casei strain LPT [ 6 ], stilbenes accumulated in grape canes [ 50 ], and olive mill wastes [ 51 ].

In recent years, a new technology began to take place in IPM program; it could contribute to the development of less toxic biopesticides with favorable safety profiles and increased stability of the active agent, enhanced activity on target pest, and increased adoption by the end-users [ 43 , 59 ]. Nanotechnology will contribute to making agriculture eco-friendlier and more profitable by reducing the usage of crop protection chemicals.

Intelligent delivery of fertilizers, pesticides, and growth regulators, including nanosensors for real-time monitoring of soil conditions, crop growth, and pest and disease attack, is made possible through the development of nanodevices and products [ 60 ]. ISO TC has published six technical specifications on nanotechnology terminology so far, namely:. Nanoscale material helps to reduce degradation of pesticide and fungicide and increase the effectiveness of application with reduced amount [ 45 ].

Widespread use of pesticides is a significant source of air, water, and soil pollution causing risk to human health as a result of misuse or accident as well as leaving lasting harmful chemicals in the environment [ 63 ]. Also, effects of agricultural pesticides on nontarget organisms continue to become a major problem. Indiscriminate and injudicious use of chemical pesticide in agriculture has resulted in several associated adverse effects as environmental pollution, ecological imbalance, and pesticide residues in food, fruit, vegetable, fodder, soil, and water pest resurgence [ 64 ].

The WHO [ 46 ] grouped pesticides according to the potential risks to humans caused by accidental contact to human being to five classes:. The majority of pesticides are not specifically targeting the pest, during the application nontarget plants and animals are also affected, only about 0. Toxicity can be either acute or chronic: Acute toxicity is the capability of a substance to cause harmful effects rapidly following exposure few hours to a day.

Organophosphate Pesticides: Health Environment and Risk

Chronic toxicity is the capability of a substance to cause undesirable health effects resulting from long-term exposure [ 66 ]. The main purpose of IPM is to reduce the effects of pests on crop product and help meet the increasing demand of larger population around the world. Although the application of pesticides achieves the goals of its usage, but at the same time, side effects also appear because of this practice.

Application of pesticides is a major threat to human health. It can taint food, water, soil, and air, causing headaches, drowsiness, fertility issues, and life-threatening illness; hundreds of thousands of known deaths occur each year due to pesticide poisoning [ 67 ]. Pesticide use has contributed toward improving agricultural production, in both yield and quality.

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Pesticides are also widely used in a variety of other settings, some of which most of the general public are not aware of [ 68 ]. It is evident that workers who are involved in mixing, loading, transport, and application of pesticide are at the highest risk of pesticide injury [ 69 ]. Pesticides can enter into the human body in three ways: a through the mouth oral administration , b by adsorption through the skin or eyes dermal adsorption , and c by breathing inhalation [ 70 ]. Also, atmospheric pesticides can cause hazards to humans.

Atmospheric movement may cause transportation of pesticides from application sites to sensitive areas and accumulation of pesticides in the environment [ 71 ]. Risk related to pesticide poisoning can be defined as the extent of getting exposed to pesticide with a certain degree of toxicity.

Organochlorine pesticides OCPs show multiple effects on the major physiological systems of the body including nervous, circulatory, and reproductive system and, also at some critical growth periods, may generate severe health disturbances [ 72 ]. Organophosphorus compounds are commonly used as insecticides.

Organophosphate inhibits AChE, an enzyme located in the postsynaptic membrane that degrades AChE into choline and acetic acid [ 73 ]. The enzyme is classified as a B esterase whose function is the hydrolysis of acetylcholine which is a major neurotransmitter in the peripheral and central nervous system. The inhibition disturbs the capability of the enzyme to bind to its normal substrate with the subsequent accumulation of AChE at the nerve ending [ 74 , 75 ]. The systematic investigation of the relationship between chemical structure and inhibition of AChE is the single most important feature required in an organophosphate for anticholinesterase activity and chemical reactivity; it has revealed a direct relationship between anticholinesterase activity and reactivity of the phosphorus atom [ 76 ].

Pesticides and Health

Another side effect of Ops is oxidative stress and apoptosis. The damage is generated by the imbalance between reactive oxygen species ROS production and elimination [ 77 ]. Another side effect of Ops on human health is the disruption of estrogen function by acting as a ligand for receptor, converting other steroids to active estrogen or increasing the expression of estrogen-responsive genes [ 78 ]. Other Ops are capable of interfering with the endocrine function by inhibiting the binding of thyroid hormones to their corresponding receptors [ 78 , 79 ].

Reiss [ 80 ] found out that the critical exposure period to PO insecticides for human neurological development is, by definition, the only relevant exposure for birth outcomes. The data of carbamates on central nervous system CNS and cerebrospinal fluid penetration, adults tend to have less CNS toxicity, whereas, in pediatric exposures, CNS depression is often a predominant symptom.

Carbamates do not undergo aging that occurs during the phosphorylation of organophosphate to acetylcholinesterase and the carbamate-cholinesterase hydrolysis spontaneously within hours [ 82 ]. Fukuto [ 76 ] found out that insecticide carbamate causes AChE inhibition by identical mechanism to that of Ops.

Unlike Ops poisoning, carbamate poisoning tends to be of shorter duration because the inhibition of nervous tissue acetylcholinesterase is reversible, and carbamates are more rapidly metabolism [ 83 ]. Forde [ 84 ] studied the effects of pregnant women exposure to carbamate; the results appear to show that carbamate when associated with other pesticides is typically used as OPs and pyrethroids.

The result obtained is often related to OPs and pyrethroids.


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Carbamates are usually considered to be of limited acute toxicity. The toxic effects of pyrethroids include neurotoxicity, skin contact, and respiratory and reproductive system toxicities [ 77 ]. Type I pyrethroid typical effects include rapid onset of aggressive behavior and increased sensitivity to external stimuli, followed by fine tremor, prostration with coarse whole-body tremor, elevated body temperature, coma, and death [ 85 ].


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  • Type II pyrethroid effects are typically characterized by pawing and burrowing behaviors, followed by profuse salivation, increased startled response, abnormal hindlimb movement, and coarse whole-body tremors that progress to sinuous writhing. Clonic seizures may be observed prior to death; the term CS-syndrome from choreoathetosis and salivation has been applied to type II responses [ 85 ]. LEG3 was the most sensitive cell line. Nonoccupational low-dose exposure of any pesticides causes chronic disease in humans and can be considered as a silent killer; almost every crop faces a number of applications of different pesticides which results into multi-residue exposure of these pesticides that could be more in causing toxicity effects [ 87 ].

    Highly hazardous pesticides

    Plants are the primary source of food for humans through crop production; crop safety and crop productivity are of paramount importance to ensure providing sufficient and healthy food for peoples. Plants were the main reasons for pesticide application and practices, but in the early days of chemical pesticide applications, there were little concern about the side effects of this practice until illness started to appear on farmers and farm workers who are directly exposed to pesticides and using crop products that are treated with chemical pesticides.

    These effects alarmed governments, agriculture intuitions, and scientists around the world to pay a greater attention to these chemical pesticides used for crop protections. Anonymous [ 88 ] found that absorption is the take-in of chemical substance into plants or microorganism. Most chemical pesticides break down once they are absorbed; pesticide residues may separate into simpler substances or remain inside the plant or animals and be released into the environment when the animal dies or plant decays.

    Saha and Gupta [ 90 ] found out that metallic nanoparticle, e. Toxicity of nanoparticles depends upon various factors like plant species, size, and concentration of nanoparticles in different stages of crops; it also depends on their composition and size. Small-sized nanoparticles are more reactive and toxic than the large-sized ones and affect the respiration or photosynthesis process [ 91 ]. All improved root growth of grape and radish and inhibited root elongation of ryegrass and lettuce but had no effect on cucumber [ 92 ].

    In a study of the effect of TiO 2 nanoparticle on aquatic life, the result raveled that TiO 2 reduced the light to entrap the algal cell and thus reduce the growth [ 94 ]. Any disturbance in these relationships may lead to undesirable result. One of the most effected factors that play great roll in this disturbance is the application of different types of pesticides.

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    The potential for misapplication and accidental exposure is great [ 64 ]. The runoff from agriculture and urban land, and rain precipitation and dry disposition from the atmosphere, can transport pesticides to streams and groundwater [ 96 ].

    Safe Use Practices for Pesticides

    Birds, aquatic organism, and animals are under the threat of harmful pesticides. The soil is an important part of the environment and plays an effective role in other parts. The application of pesticides results into two ways: positive way by destroying the specific target and negative way by transferring to another non-specific target.

    Pesticides that were detected in the atmosphere are I organochlorine insecticides resistant to environmental degradation , II organophosphate insecticides not long lived in the environment , III atrazine herbicides heavily used herbicides, persistent in the environment , IV acetanilide herbicides used heavily, but not as persistent as atrazine [ 71 ]. Mobility may result in redistribution within the application site and sometimes off-site. After application, a pesticide may I attach to soil particles, vegetation, or other surfaces and remain near the site; II attach to soil particles and move with eroded soil in runoff or wind; III dissolve in water and be absorbed by plants, overflow, or leach; IV pass off in vapor or erode from foliage or soil with wind and become airborne [ 99 ].

    Also, the mobility of pesticides can be affected by several factors of pesticide sorption, water solubility, vapor pressure, and other environmental and site characteristics including weather, topography, canopy, ground cover, soil organic matter, texture, and structure [ 99 ]. The persistence of pesticide is expressed in terms of half-life that can help estimate whether or not a pesticide tends to build up in the environment.

    Pesticides with shorter half-lives tend to build up less and less likely to persist in the environment, while pesticides with longer half-lives are more likely to build up after repeated application.