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Review article2008Peer reviewed

Biobeds for environmental protection from pesticide use - A review

Castillo, Maria Del Pilar; Torstensson, Lennart; Stenstrom, John


Biobeds originated in Sweden in response to the need for simple and effective methods to minimize environmental contamination from pesticide use, especially when filling spraying equipment, a typical point source of contamination. The biobed system has attracted attention in several countries, where work is being conducted to adapt it to local conditions and applications. As a consequence, the biobed system has been more or less modified and sometimes renamed, for example, as biomassbed in Italy, biofilter in Belgium, and Phytobac and biobac in France. The effectiveness and simplicity of the biobed also make it suitable for use in developing countries, and different adaptations of the biobed concept now exist in, for instance, Peru, Guatemala, and Ecuador. When the modification of the biobed includes an intention to use it for retention and degradation of pesticides in sprayer washings, the construction has to be adapted to, for example, lined biobeds to ensure that no pesticide leaching will occur. Replacement of some of the original materials in the Swedish biomixture (straw, peat, and soil) can also change the performance of the system, for instance, the amount, activity, and composition of the microbial community that develops. This review presents the state of the art of biobeds and similar systems in Sweden and worldwide and identifies future research needs. Factors affecting the efficiency of biobeds in terms of degradation and retention of pesticides are discussed, with particular emphasis on the microbial processes involved.

Published in

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
2008, Volume: 56, number: 15, pages: 6206-6219

      SLU Authors

      • Sustainable Development Goals

        SDG3 Good health and well-being
        SDG6 Clean water and sanitation

        UKÄ Subject classification

        Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
        Agricultural Science

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