Literature review: Global neonicotinoid insecticide occurrence in aquatic environments

Josephus F. Borsuah, Tiffany L. Messer, Daniel D. Snow, Steve D. Comfort, Aaron R. Mittelstet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Neonicotinoids have been the most commonly used insecticides since the early 1990s. Despite their efficacy in improving crop protection and management, these agrochemicals have gained recent attention for their negative impacts on non-target species such as honeybees and aquatic invertebrates. In recent years, neonicotinoids have been detected in rivers and streams across the world. Determining and predicting the exposure potential of neonicotinoids in surface water requires a thorough understanding of their fate and transport mechanisms. Therefore, our objective was to provide a comprehensive review of neonicotinoids with a focus on their fate and transport mechanisms to and within surface waters and their occurrence in waterways throughout the world. A better understanding of fate and transport mechanisms will enable researchers to accurately predict occurrence and persistence of insecticides entering surface waters and potential exposure to non-target organisms in agricultural intensive regions. This review has direct implications on how neonicotinoids are monitored and degraded in aquatic ecosystems. Further, an improved understanding of the fate and transport of neonicotinoids aide natural resource practitioners in the development and implementation of effective best management practices to reduce the potential impact and exposure of neonicotinoids in waterways and aquatic ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3388
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Agriculture
  • Ecosystem
  • Fate and transport
  • Neonicotinoid insecticides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Biochemistry


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