Journal of environmental science and health. Part. B, Pesticides, food contaminants, and agricultural wastes

Evaluation of the impact on entomocoenosis of active agents allowed in organic olive farming against Bactrocera oleae (Gmelin, 1790).

PMID 17763034


Several attempts for evaluating environmental impact of active agents allowed in organic olive farming against Bactrocera oleae have been made, but very few studies were performed contemporaneously on more than one of them. Insects were chosen as indicators because they are known to react very quickly to environmental perturbations, mainly at the community level. In fact, the coenosis is the functional unit interacting with biotic and abiotic environmental parameters. Seven taxa, known for their sensitivity to habitat alterations, were sampled and grouped in functional groups: predators and parasitoids, phytophagouses and pollinators. The coenotic balance between these two functional groups was analyzed. The study was carried out in an organic olive orchard in the municipality of Terranova da Sibari, Cosenza, Southern Italy. The tested active agents (Azadirachtin, Rotenone, Copper Oxychloride) were sprayed twice (end of September and middle October). During the treatments the population dynamics of all the taxa were knocked-down. No one tested compound seems to be harmless to the entomocoenosis, particularly on phytophagouses and pollinators. In truly organic farming it is necessary to provide natural refuge areas to beneficial insects (i.e. pest antagonists) in which no active agents are sprayed and alternative preys could be found.