Our consultant Microbiologist Dr Carol Devine has been visiting the University of Lyon this week for the second training event of the ARISTO project – the European Industry-Academia network with a focus on assessing the microbial toxicity of pesticides. The network aims to develop tools and methods to enable robust testing of toxicity. In the past, risk assessment for pesticides has focused on aquatic organisms and terrestrial macro-organisms, while assessment of pesticide toxicity in relation to soil microorganisms has lagged behind. Microbial life is crucial for soil health, and the wider ecosystem, and so the ARISTO project aims to address this gap.
NCIMB is delighted to be a part of this microbial ecotoxicology training network, and this week Carol has been giving some insights into the lessons-learned from NCIMB’s experience in the development of our MARA microbial ecotoxity tests.
We are also looking forward to hosting a PhD student later this year, who is working on the in vitro assessment of toxicity of pesticides on ammonia oxidizers, and other microorganisms that are involved in the nitrification process. Ammonia oxidation is an integral part of the nitrogen cycle, and the activity of the microbes involved is essential for soil health. They are therefore ideal candidates for testing the impact of pesticides on microbial communities and soil ecosystem functioning.
More information about our ecotoxicity page for more information about the MARA and LumiMARA tests.