Our ecotoxicological studies are complemented by a dedicated team of analytical chemists who support the development and validation of analytical methods and confirm exposure concentrations. We also have an Environmental Fate team with extensive experience in environmental fate process studies including degradation, sorption, hydrolysis, photolysis and plant uptake using both radiolabelled and non-radiolabelled compounds
The following case studies show how our expertise has helped our partners’ agrochemical testing process:
CASE STUDY 1 - PLANT UPTAKE FACTOR (PUF) EXPERIEMENTS TO PREDICT GROUND
High chemical concentrations in ground-water are of concern as organisms within the direct ecosystem are then exposed to potentially toxic chemicals. There is also the risk of these chemicals entering our water system and contaminating drinking water. The Plant Uptake Factor experiment is designed to give chemical manufactures the option to reduce ground water risk.
Our client had performed the standard experiments for the assessment of their plant protection product and had identified a significant metabolite (>10%) occurred during the soil transformation assessment (OECD 307). Further environmental testing on this metabolite identified that it had high mobility (OECD 106) and was moderately persistent (OECD 307). This generated a major issue for our client as it indicated that following application of the parent product in the field, the resulting metabolite was highly likely to leach into ground water. Computer-aided modelling indicated that metabolite levels would be above the standardised trigger level of 10 µg/L in the ground water, generating an unacceptable risk. To generate the predicted levels in ground water our client was hindered by the fact that a default PUF value of ‘0’, i.e. no uptake, must be used at the modelling stage if no experimental data is available (FOCUS 2014).
Fera Science performed a PUF assessment on the metabolite-of-interest and we were able to demonstrate that the metabolite was up taken by the root system of three different crops under laboratory conditions. The three different commercial crops were a mixture of monocotyledon and dichotomous species and showed PUF values between 0.3 and 0.5.
Our client was then able to provide a robust justification for altering the PUF value within the modelling phase and significantly reduce the concentrations within groundwater yielding an acceptable risk. This helped the client meet their regulations and contributed towards getting their product to market.
CASE STUDY 2 - USE OF MALDI IMAGING TO ASSESS THE DISTRIBUTION OF PESTICIDES IN THE HONEYBEE
Our partners wished to assess the distribution of nicotinoids in honeybees. The use of these compounds has been linked to adverse ecological effects and an impact on bee health, so it was important to understand how they were distributed in vivo following exposure.
Honeybees were dosed orally with a nicotinoid compound and 30µm sections taken using a microtome. The distribution of the nicotinoid and its major metabolites was then studied using matrix assisted laser desorption ionisation (MALDI). This technique is an emerging technology based on a surface sampling process and allows analysis and visualisation of endogenous proteins and peptides along with exogenous molecular species, such as pesticides, within the same tissue section, and with high molecular specificity. MALDI imaging has been shown to provide data analogous to whole body autoradiography (WBA) providing highly selective analyte data.
Aquatic, bee and pollination, terrestrial, higher tier/sediment, wildlife, and endocrine disruptors
Analytical chemistry and residues studies
Biodegradation, bioaccumulation, mobility studies, soil and water/sediment metabolism, plant and livestock metabolism
Primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary screens
Semi-field, and field-based studies
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