Ecotoxicologically sound removal of crop protection agents from water from the vegetable and potato processing industry.





  • University of Gent
  • GhEnToxLab 

  •  Crop Protection Chemistry
  • VEG-i-TEC 

Project summary

The increasing water stress, and associated rising water prices, emphasize the need for smarter water reuse in the vegetable- and potato industry. This is not completely without risk, because pesticides (crop protection agents), can accumulate through the process in the water and cause cross contaminations. The prior WaMIP project examined industrial wastewater from vegetable- and potato processing companies before, during and after the conventional water treatment. The first results indicate that pesticides are insufficiently removed from the treated water by the current conventional purifications steps. This entails the following problems (I) discharge: exceedances (cfr. VLAREM II) of pesticides in wastewater could have a potential negative effect on aquatic ecosystems. (II) Reuse can lead to accumulation and/or cross-contamination, which may lead to the possible transfer of pesticides to the crops from the process water.  

The use of an ozone-based treatment, whether or not combined with active carbon, has already proven its worth by removing similar components (e.g. pharmaceutical residues and/or pesticides) in municipal water. However, in the field of industrial ozone-treatment, there are still a lot unknowns before a successful application can be guaranteed. After all, the target components (pesticides) are just a limited part of the entire water matrix. Ozon can potentially generate transformations products and by-products during the degradation of crop protection agents. Therefore, the monitoring of the ecotoxicity within the TETRA project is of utmost importance. As a result the knowledge of the research groups ‘Crop protection Chemistry’ (led by professor Spanoghe) and GhEnToxLab (led by professor De Schamphelaere) is called upon to develop an ecotoxicologically sound project.