The first newsletter of the ARISTO project is out now. The European Commission funded project aims to revolutionise how the toxicity of pesticides to soil microorganisms is assessed. Nine research fellows are being trained in a multinational and multidisciplinary environment by seven academic and nine industrial partners, of which NCIMB Ltd is one.
In this first newsletter, ARISTO project coordinator Prof Dimitrios Karpouzas, explains the importance of improving the assessment of pesticide toxicity in relation to soil microorganisms. Soil microorganisms are the growth engines of the terrestrial ecosystems, and essential to soil health, but the assessment of pesticide toxicity on microorganisms relies on an outdated protocol, which fails to identify effects on key microbial functions and microbial diversity.
ARISTO will focus on key functional microbial groups such as ammonia oxidising microorganisms and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, as bioindicators of the toxicity of pesticides on soil microorganisms. In addition, issues such as toxicity of biopesticides, pesticide mixtures and pesticide transformation products will be explored as part of a holistic assessment of potential pesticide toxicity on soil microorganisms. You can read the newsletter here.