The fate of the Neonictinoid Insecticide Thiamethoxam in the environment following field application
Five neonicotinoid insecticides (clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, acetamiprid and thiacloprid) have been approved as active ingredients in plant protection products in the EU & UK. With emerging evidence of the potential harm to bee health, the UK and the EC has taken steps to severely restrict three of these neonicotinoids (clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam) to protect honeybees (Regulation (EU) No 485/2013). Nevertheless, this year the UK lifted its ban on Thiamethoxam to allow it to be used on sugar beet seedlings which are prone to predation from aphids which have the potential to spread beet yellows virus. DEFRA have stipulated that strict conditions will be applied to minimise risks to the environment, including limitations on seeds planted per hectare and restrictions on farmers planting flowering crops in subsequent years in any field where treated seed has been used. This is to allow time for the chemical to break down. This project will collaborate with the British Bee Keepers Association to study the environmental fate of applied Thiamethoxam into the environment from such use and will contribute to a concurrent study to determine degradation kinetics of neonicotinoids in the environment by a US undergraduate student (funded by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program to undertake research at Brunel University London). It is expected the work on the fate and occurrence and the related study on neonictinoid removal undertaken by both students will be suitable for publication in a peer reviewed manuscript.
This project is suitable for hybrid working, but will require some travel for sampling.