Nanopesticides: Guiding principles for regulatory evaluation of environmental risks

Rai S. Kookana*, Alistair B A Boxall, Philip T. Reeves, Roman Ashauer, Sabine Beulke, Qasim Chaudhry, Geert Cornelis, Teresa F. Fernandes, Jay Gan, Melanie Kah, Iseult Lynch, James Ranville, Chris Sinclair, David Spurgeon, Karen Tiede, Paul J. Van Den Brink

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    290 Citations (Scopus)


    Nanopesticides or nano plant protection products represent an emerging technological development that, in relation to pesticide use, could offer a range of benefits including increased efficacy, durability, and a reduction in the amounts of active ingredients that need to be used. A number of formulation types have been suggested including emulsions (e.g., nanoemulsions), nanocapsules (e.g., with polymers), and products containing pristine engineered nanoparticles, such as metals, metal oxides, and nanoclays. The increasing interest in the use of nanopesticides raises questions as to how to assess the environmental risk of these materials for regulatory purposes. Here, the current approaches for environmental risk assessment of pesticides are reviewed and the question of whether these approaches are fit for purpose for use on nanopesticides is addressed. Potential adaptations to existing environmental risk assessment tests and procedures for use with nanopesticides are discussed, addressing aspects such as analysis and characterization, environmental fate and exposure assessment, uptake by biota, ecotoxicity, and risk assessment of nanopesticides in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Throughout, the main focus is on assessing whether the presence of the nanoformulation introduces potential differences relative to the conventional active ingredients. The proposed changes in the test methodology, research priorities, and recommendations would facilitate the development of regulatory approaches and a regulatory framework for nanopesticides.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4227-4240
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
    Issue number19
    Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2014


    • ecotoxicity
    • environmental fate
    • environmental risk
    • nanopesticides

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
    • Chemistry(all)


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