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Chemosphere. 2018 Jun;201:159-167. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.02.168. Epub 2018 Feb 27.

Concentrations of imidacloprid and thiamethoxam in pollen, nectar and leaves from seed-dressed cotton crops and their potential risk to honeybees (Apis mellifera L.).

Author information

1
College of Plant Protection, Shandong Agricultural University, Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory for Biology of Vegetable Diseases and Insect Pests, Tai'an, Shandong 271018, PR China.
2
Research Center of Pesticide Environmental Toxicology, Shandong Agricultural University, Tai'an, 271018 Shandong, PR China.
3
College of Plant Protection, Shandong Agricultural University, Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory for Biology of Vegetable Diseases and Insect Pests, Tai'an, Shandong 271018, PR China. Electronic address: muwei@sdau.edu.cn.

Abstract

Neonicotinoid insecticides (NIs) have recently been recognized as co-factors in the decline of honeybee colonies because most neonicotinoids are systemic and can transfer into the pollen and nectar of many pollinated crops. In this study, we collected pollen, nectar and leaves from a cotton crop treated with imidacloprid and thiamethoxam to measure the residue levels of these two NIs at different application doses during the flowering period. Then, the residual data were used to assess the risk posed by the systemic insecticides to honeybees following mandated methods published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and a highly toxic risk to honeybees was highlighted. Imidacloprid was found in both pollen and nectar samples, whereas thiamethoxam was found in 90% of pollen samples and over 60% of nectar samples. Analysis of the pollen and nectar revealed residual amounts of imidacloprid ranging from 1.61 to 64.58 ng g-1 in the pollen and from not detected (ND) to 1.769 ng g-1 in the nectar. By comparison, the thiamethoxam concentrations in pollen and nectar ranged from ND to 14.521 ng g-1 and from ND to 4.285 ng g-1, respectively. The results of this study provide information on the transfer of two NIs from seed treatment to areas of the plant and provides an understanding of the potential exposure of the bee and other pollinators to systemic insecticides.

KEYWORDS:

Cotton; Honey bees; Imidacloprid; Risk assessment; Thiamethoxam; UPLC-MS/MS

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