Ecotoxicology of Agrochemicals

This course aims to provide a broad understanding of the main ecotoxicology concepts and its application to address environmental problems caused by agrochemicals.

The concepts addressed will be: agrochemicals typology and activity; toxicity test; toxicity thresholds; LC50, EC50, NOEC and NEC; REACH and standard toxicity tests; bioavailability, bioaccumulation, acute and chronic toxicity; scales of study and methods used to assess toxicity at different scales; community ecotoxicology and how to derive causality.

The program compiles concepts in lectures and problem based learning activities. In the end of each unit the students will adress questios using the basis provided during the classroom course.




Teaching Material


Audiovisual Teaching Material


Problem Based Learning

  1. United Nations experts denounce 'myth' pesticides are necessary to feed the world
  2. Looking at causes of increased levels of contaminants in aquatic organisms used for food supply. Case of Minnamata
  3. Decline of bees poses potential risks to major crops, says United Nations


  1. Ministry of Environment, Enabling Activities for Development of a National Plan for Implementation of the Stockholm Convention. 2004. Cambodia. National Profile on Chemicals Management in Cambodia. 162 pp.
  2. Kimkhuy and Chhay, 2014. Development Research Forum Synthesis Report. DOES CAMBODIA NEED INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT? PAST EXPERIENCE, PRESENT KNOWLEDGE AND FUTURE PROSPECTS. CDRI – Cambodia’s leading independent development policy research institute. 8 pp.
  3. United Nations. 2017. Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food. 24 pp.
  4. Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Cambodia. 2012. Law on the Management of Pesticides and Fertilizers. 40 pp.
  5. Valavanidis A & Vlachogianni Th. Agricultural pesticides: ecotoxicological studies and environmental risk assessment. Science advances on Environment, Toxicology & Ecotoxicology issues 15 pp.
  6. Borgå K, Fisk AT, Hoekstra PF, Muir DCG. 2004. Biological and chemical factors of importance in the bioaccumulation and trophic transfer of persistent organochlorine contaminants in arctic marine food webs. Environ Toxicol Chem 23: 2367-2385.
  7. Brock, T., 2013. Priorities to improve the ecological risk assessment and management for pesticides in surface water. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, 9(3).
  8. Cresswell JE. 2011. A meta-analysis of experiments testing the effects of a neonicotinoid insecticide (imidacloprid) on honey bees. Ecotoxicology 20:149–157
  9. Schulz R. 2004. Field Studies on Exposure, Effects, and Risk Mitigation of Aquatic nonpoint-source insecticide pollution: a review. Journal of Environmental Quality; 33(2): 419-448.
  10. Liess, M. and Ohe, P.C.V.D., 2005. Analyzing effects of pesticides on invertebrate communities in streams. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 24(4), pp.954-965.
  11. Knillmann, S., Stampfli, N.C., Noskov, Y.A., Beketov, M.A. and Liess, M., 2012. Interspecific competition delays recovery of Daphnia spp. populations from pesticide stress. Ecotoxicology, 21(4), pp.1039-1049.
  12. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 2011. Report of the Workshop on Using Mechanistic Information in Forming Chemical Categories. Environment Health and Safety Publications, Series on Testing and Assessment No. 138, Report No. ENV/JM/MONO(2011) 8, JT03301985, OECD, Paris.
  13. Guasch, H., Ricart, M., López‚ÄźDoval, J., Bonnineau, C., Proia, L., Morin, S., Muñoz, I., Romaní, A.M. and Sabater, S., 2016. Influence of grazing on triclosan toxicity to stream periphyton. Freshwater Biology, 61(12), pp.2002-2012.
  14. Moe, S.J., De Schamphelaere, K., Clements, W.H., Sorensen, M.T., Van den Brink, P.J. and Liess, M., 2013. Combined and interactive effects of global climate change and toxicants on populations and communities. Environmental toxicology and chemistry, 32(1), pp.49-61.
  15. Todo, K. and Sato, K., 2002. Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy. ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH QUARTERLY, pp.66-106.
  16. European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, Kheti Virasat Mission, Pesticides Action Network Asia Pacific, Bread for the World and Berne Declaration., 2015. Claims of (non-adherence by Bayer CropScience and Syngenta to the Code of Conduct Provisions on Labeling, Personal Protective Equipment, Training, and Monitoring. 96 pp.
  17. Heinz-R. Köhler, and Rita Triebskorn. 1013. Wildlife Ecotoxicology of Pesticides: Can We Track Effects to the Population Level and Beyond? Science Volume 341(6147):759-765
  18. Jamieson, A.J., Malkocs, T., Piertney, S.B., Fujii, T. and Zhang, Z., 2017. Bioaccumulation of persistent organic pollutants in the deepest ocean fauna. Nature ecology & evolution, 1(3), p.0051.


  •  Methods of analysis

  1. Tlili, A., Corcoll, N., Bonet, B., Morin, S., Montuelle, B., Bérard, A., and Guasch, H. 2011. In situ spatio-temporal changes in pollution-induced community tolerance to zinc in autotrophic and heterotrophic biofilm communities. Ecotoxicology20(8)
  2. Kuster, M., de Alda, M. J. L., Hernando, M. D., Petrovic, M., Martín-Alonso, J., and Barceló, D. 2008. Analysis and occurrence of pharmaceuticals, estrogens, progestogens and polar pesticides in sewage treatment plant effluents, river water and drinking water in the Llobregat river basin (Barcelona, Spain). Journal of hydrology358(1-2), p. 112-123.
  3. Köck-Schulmeyer, M., Ginebreda, A., González, S., Cortina, J. L., de Alda, M. L., and Barceló, D. 2012. Analysis of the occurrence and risk assessment of polar pesticides in the Llobregat River Basin (NE Spain). Chemosphere86(1), p. 8-16.
  4. Ccanccapa, A., Masiá, A., Navarro-Ortega, A., Picó, Y., and Barceló, D. 2016. Pesticides in the Ebro River basin: occurrence and risk assessment. Environmental pollution211, p. 414-424.


Contact information

Dr. Helena Guash, University of Girona (UdG)