Environmental risk assessment studies on new plant protection products which have been elaborated from coniferous tree bark
¹University of Latvia, Institute of Biology, Department of Experimental Entomology and Microbiology, Miera street 3, LV-2169 Salaspils, Latvia
²Latvian State Forest Research Institute 'Silava', Rīgas street 111, LV-2169 Salaspils, Latvia
³Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Institute of Horticulture, Graudu street 1, Ceriņi, Dobele District, LV- 3701, Latvia
Nowadays there are still various chemical pesticides being applied in the course of ensuring plant protection. Since 2010, we have been working on the development of new, environmentally-friendly plant protection products which will provide an effective tool against pathogenic fungi and bacteria which cause disease in crop plants. The specific aim of this study was to evaluate a risk assessment for new plant protection products that have been elaborated on the basis of coniferous tree bark. Various products were tested which are extracted during the processing of wood bark from pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.). Ethanol extracts were formulated and applied during these experiments. Two formulations, which showed anti-fungal activity in vitro and in field trials on fruit crops (involving strawberries and raspberries) were selected for the risk assessment studies. The impact was studied of formulation treatment on crop plants and soil biological activity, and the accumulation of residues of active substances in crop plants and soil. The application of new formulations did not show any negative effect on the chlorophyll content and the chlorophyll fluorescence of plant leaves. The results showed that pine and spruce bark extract formulations contain active compounds (coumaric acid, quercetin, epicatechin, and ferulic acid) within the range of 5.1–5.9 mg kg-1 and 11.1–443.9 mg kg-1 respectively. The amount of active substances which were determined in most cases was higher in the spruce bark extract formulation when compared to the pine bark extract formulation. Our results confirmed the presence of active compounds – epicatechin, quercetin, and coumaric acid – in strawberry fruits which remained untreated and in those that were treated with spruce ethanol extract formulation. Untreated raspberry fruits contained all four active substances within the range of 81–5,300 μg kg-1. We observed a significant increase of coumaric acid and quercetin in raspberries after their having been treated with spruce bark extract formulation in a 2% concentration, P < 0.05, and did not find any negative impact for spruce bark extract formulations when used on soil microbial biomass.