The utilization of pesticides is often necessary for meeting commercial requirements for crop quality and yield. However, incessant global pesticide use poses potential risks to human and ecosystem health.
This situation increases the urgency of developing nano-biotechnology-assisted pesticide formulations that have high efficacy and low risk of side effects.
The risks associated with both conventional and nano pesticides are summarized in this review. Moreover, the management of residual pesticides is still a global challenge.
The contamination of soil and water resources with pesticides has an adverse impact on agricultural productivity and food security; ultimately posing threats to living organisms.
Pesticide residues in the eco-system may be treated via several physicochemical and biological processes, such as microbe-based degradation and advanced oxidation processes.
With these issues in mind, we present a review that explores both existing and emerging techniques for the management of pesticide residues and environmental risks. These techniques can offer a sustainable solution to revitalize the tarnished water/soil resources.
Further, state-of-the-art research approaches to investigate biotechnological alternatives to conventional pesticides are discussed along with future prospects and mitigation techniques are recommended.
It is recognized that pesticides are essential components in the management of agricultural activity that can be used to optimize quantity and quality.
The history of pesticides is broad, including conventional synthetic pesticides and recent nanoformulations. Despite the potential benefits of synthetic pesticides, their hazards to living organisms and the natural ecosystem cannot be ignored.
Further, nano-pesticides are difficult to implement due to their high production costs, legislative uncertainties, and public opinion challenges. Moreover, there are still many issues with their application that need to be addressed, especially with respect to their fate in the ecosystems.
Before the commercialization of any product, it is crucial to conduct a re-evaluation of the societal and environmental impacts. Therefore, there is a still long way to go before eco-friendly and safe alternatives of synthetic pesticides achieve widespread commercial success.
However, significant measures are required on a priority basis to treat the pesticide residues that are present in the environment. The effective management of pesticide residue may be achieved through advanced oxidation processes and microbe-based degradation.
These techniques should be effective enough to remove or suppress the harmful environmental effects of chemical pesticides without using nanomaterials.
Further studies on environmental fate and bioaccumulation of nanoformulations are still required and will allow researchers to develop environmentally friendly and sustainable methods to avoid excessive use of pesticides.
Innovative degradation pathways for pesticide residues followed by appropriate handling of degraded products should be explored for assessment of their associated benefits and risks.
Source: Nehra, M., Dilbaghi, N., Marrazza, G., Kaushik, A., Sonne, C., Kim, K. H., & Kumar, S. (2021). Emerging nanobiotechnology in agriculture for the management of pesticide residues. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 401, 123369.
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