ARISTO brings together the expertise of industry and academia to train the next generation of soil ecotoxicologists in order to develop tools, methods and procedures to assess in the most comprehensive and robust way the toxicity of pesticides on soil microorganisms. ARISTO will bring research breakthroughs and at the same time will have a major impact in the future regulatory framework regarding the Environmental Risk Assessment of Pesticides. It builds on a tiered assessment approach (in vitro, to in soil, to ecosystem scale) using ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms (AOM) and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) as key indicators for functional microbial diversity in soil.
The European Industry - Academia Network for RevIsing and Advancing the Assessment of the Soil Microbial TOxicity of Pesticides Pesticides are major environmental pollutants. The European Commission has imposed a stringent pesticide regulatory scheme for pesticides authorisation, where risk assessment for aquatic organisms and terrestrial macro-organisms is well defined. In contrast the assessment of the toxicity of pesticides on soil microorganisms is lagging behind. EFSA identified soil microorganisms as an attribute to monitor during pesticides environmental risk assessment and stressed the need for novel tests to assess the toxicity of pesticides on soil microorganisms. The ARISTO project will fulfil this scientific and regulatory gap through a unique doctoral program, based on the strong interaction of academia and industry. These will produce benchmarking knowledge supporting the development of advanced tools and procedures, based on the response of key microbial indicator groups, for the comprehensive assessment of the toxicity of pesticides on soil microorganisms. ARISTO will employ 9 PhD fellows and provide to them a challenging training program aiming to develop: (1) pioneering in vitro tests, as a first conservative step, to assess the toxicity of pesticides on distinct ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (2) advanced lab and field tests to assess the toxicity of pesticides on natural soil assemblages of AOM and AMF, as a more realistic toxicity assessment step; (3) an ecosystem-level toxicity assessment looking at pesticide effects at microbial networks and across different trophic levels along the soil food web (predator - prey); (4) novel tools to determine the soil microbial toxicity of pesticide mixtures, and bio-pesticides; (5) and validate advanced in silico tools for prioritizing pesticide transformation products with potential toxicity to soil microbes. The consortium of ARISTO comprises 7 academic and 9 industrial beneficiaries and 5 partners from 9 countries including Israel and Australia