Monitoring of pesticide residues in fresh peaches produced under conventional and integrated crop management cultivation

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The frequency and severity of crop protection product (pesticide) contamination of peaches grown conventionally were compared with those of peaches grown by integrated crop management (ICM). The peach samples (n = 150) were collected preharvest (June–August 2001) from both conventional (n = 55) and ICM (n = 95) cultivations from the Pella and Imathia districts of Macedonia, Northern Greece. The residue levels of selected insecticides, fungicides and acaricides in peach samples were determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry following solid-phase extraction. The concentrations of all detected pesticides were lower than the maximum residue limits (MRLs) in all peach samples grown with the ICM system (p<0.001). However, chlorpyrifos residues at levels higher than the MRLs were detected in four peach samples (i.e. 7% of the total samples) grown by the conventional system. Comparing the results for both cultivation methods with the reported average percentage (3.6%) of fruit samples with pesticide residues above the MRLs (European Union report for Greece in 2001), it was concluded that the initial implementation of the ICM in Greece was successful. The present study indicates that ICM cultivation has a higher efficiency in terms of product safety and quality. Furthermore, the results suggest that the application of conventional cultivation requires continuous monitoring of various crop protection product levels.

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