Altered pesticide use on transgenic crops and the associated general impact from an environmental perspective



The large-scale commercial cultivation of transgenic crops has undergone a steady increase since their introduction 10 years ago. Most of these crops bear introduced traits that are of agronomic importance, such as herbicide or insect resistance. These traits are likely to impact upon the use of pesticides on these crops, as well as the pesticide market as a whole. Organizations like USDA-ERS and NCFAP monitor the changes in crop pest management associated with the adoption of transgenic crops. As part of an IUPAC project on this topic, recent data are reviewed regarding the alterations in pesticide use that have been observed in practice. Most results indicate a decrease in the amounts of active ingredients applied to transgenic crops compared with conventional crops. In addition, a generic environmental indicator—the environmental impact quotient (EIQ)—has been applied by these authors and others to estimate the environmental consequences of the altered pesticide use on transgenic crops. The results show that the predicted environmental impact decreases in transgenic crops. With the advent of new types of agronomic trait and crops that have been genetically modified, it is useful to take also their potential environmental impacts into account. Copyright © 2007 Society of Chemical Industry