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Researchers from the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland have developed an ultra-sensitive method to quantify extremely low concentrations of neonicotinoid pesticides in honey. This is a follow up to their study on the global contamination of honey by these pesticides published in the Journal Science in October 2017. The authors, which also include colleagues from the Botanical Garden of Neuchâtel, found that these pesticides did not degrade in honey over a period of 40 months. These results were published in the journal Environmental Pollution.
The long-term stability of these molecules is worrying: "if these pesticides are brought back to the hive with nectar, this implies that the entire colony, including the queen, is exposed during its entire life to these neurotoxins", points out Blaise Mulhauser, director of the Botanical Garden of Neuchâtel.
Concentration - Pesticides - Period - Years - Honey
"Likewise, the concentration of these pesticides will be stable over a period of several years also in honey destined to human consumption", adds Edward Mitchell, co-author of the study. "So far only few samples had total neonicotinoid concentrations above the current limits accepted for human consumption. However, we do not know well what impact these substances have on human health over the long term, and this concern is growing."
The new method is a significant step forward and major feat in terms of analytical capacity for the Neuchâtel Platform of Analytical Chemistry led by the senior author of the study, Gaétan Glauser: This method now allows detecting concentrations as low as 2 picograms per gram of honey. This corresponds to the mass of a US quarter dollar coin in the mass of 5.6 Eiffel towers or 278...
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