Neonicotinoids were first used commercially starting in the 1990's. Since that time they have become the most widely used insecticides in the world. This widespread use has led to concerns regarding the potential for neonicotinoids to impact human and ecological health. Currently there are gaps in our understanding of neonicotinoid reactivity in the environment that hinder our ability to assess these impacts. This project will help address these gaps through a comprehensive study of the environmental fate and transport of neonicotinoids. The specific objectives are to understand how seven important neonicotinoid insecticides move, accumulate, and/or degrade in agricultural soils, surface water, and groundwater. Results will be used to develop and validate models to predict the long-term impacts of these compounds in the environment. The research will be carried out by a collaboration of researchers and students at Jackson State University and Tennessee State University, broadening participation and the diversity of the environmental engineering workforce.

Neonicotinoids have become the world's most widely used insecticides since they were first commercially used in the early 1990s. Such widespread use has led to concerns regarding the potential for neonicotinoids to impact human and ecological health. This project will use a systematic and comprehensive approach to study the environmental fate and transport of the most widely used neonicotinoids in agricultural soils. To achieve this goal, the team will 1) examine the sorption and degradation of seven globally important neonicotinoids including imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, dinotefuran, acetamiprid, thiacloprid, and nitenpyram in three typical agricultural soils using laboratory batch tests; 2) investigate the transport and dissipation/accumulation of these neonicotinoids in soil environments in laboratory column tests, greenhouse simulation tests, and controlled field tests with multiple plant growing cycles; 3) investigate the dissipation/accumulation of neonicotinoids in surface water and groundwater at laboratory and pilot scale; and 4) study the long-term environmental impacts of neonicotinoids using fate and transport models verified with experimental data. The scaled-up greenhouse and field test data will advance understanding of the behavior of neonicotinoids in the environment at a level of breadth and depth necessary to verify the fate and transport simulation model. This model will allow the prediction of the long-term environmental impacts of the use of neonicotinoids.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Jackson State University
United States
Zip Code