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Bioresource Technology
Volume 311, 2020, Pages: 123523

Global trends in pesticides: A looming threat and viable alternatives

Akanksha Sharmaa,b,1, Ananya Shuklaa,c,1, Kriti Attria,d, Megha Kumare, Puneet Kumarf, Ashish Sutteeg, Gurpal Singhb, Ravi Pratap Barnwala, Neha Singlaa

Department of Biophysics, Panjab University, Chandigarh, 160014, India.


Pesticides are widely used chemical compounds in agriculture to destroy insects, pests and weeds. In modern era, they form an indispensable part of agricultural and health practices. Globally, nearly 3 billion kg of pesticides are used every year with a budget of ~40 billion USD. This extensive usage has increased the crop yield as well as led to significant reduction in harvest losses and thereby, enhanced food availability. On the other hand, indiscriminate usage of these chemicals has led to several environmental implications and caused adverse effects on human health. Epidemiological evidences have revealed the harmful effects of pesticides exposure on various organs including liver, brain, lungs and colon. Recent investigations have shown that pesticides can also lead to fatal consequences such as cancer among individuals. These chemicals enter ecosystem, thus hampering the sensitive environmental equilibrium through bio-accumulation. Due to their non-biodegradable nature, they can persist in nature for years and are regarded as potent biohazard. Worldwide, very few surveillance methods have been considered, which can bring awareness among the individuals, therefore the present review is an attempt to delineate consequences induced by various types of pesticide exposure on the environment. Further, the prospective of biopesticides use could facilitate the increase of crop production without compromising human health.

Graphical abstract

Keywords: Pesticides, Exposure, Toxicity, Targets, Biopesticides, Organochlorines, Organophosphorus pesticides.

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