Organochlorine insecticide residue in fresh tomatoes (lycopersicon esculentum) at the farm gate and market. a case study of the Fanteakwa District of Eastern Region of Ghana.

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Insect pests control is a major challenge in vegetable (tomato) production. The use of various insecticides in the management of insect pests over the years has proven effective. However, the use of pesticides in tomato production comes with various environmental and health issues such as residual effects. The objective of this research was to ascertain the kind of insecticides being used by farmers to control insect-pests, the mode of application of insecticides and their effects on the quality and safety of tomato produced. The research also sought to determine the levels of organochlorine insecticides in tomatoes at the farm gate and on the market, and to compare the residue level in the various varieties with the international Maximum Residue Level (MRL). The concentrations of organochlorine insecticide residues in four tomato varieties from seven farming communities in Fanteakwa District (Ntanuam, Krobo Meyiwa, Oboroahoho, Ofosukrom, Apaah, Akoradarko and Dedeso) and three markets (Ahomahomaso, Begoro and Ehiamankyene) were determined using gas chromatography in May and June 2012. It was observed that 36.6% of the farmers interviewed used and combined hazardous insecticides on their fields with no idea of the active ingredients and their effects on human health and environment. Thus Confidor which is made to control insect pests of cocoa plants are often used by farmers to control insect pests on tomato fields. Laboratory analysis confirmed that insecticide residues were indeed present in the tomato. A total of twenty different organochlorine insecticides were detected in almost all the samples. The concentrations ranged between 0.0001 to 0.0091 mg/kg. DDT was one of the most abundant with high residual levels detected in all 10 (100 %) samples analyzed, having a concentration range 0.0014 to 0.0091 mg/kg and mean of 0.0058 mg/kg. The average levels of organochlorine residues in tomatoes sampled in this study were generally below EU MRLs. Therefore, tomatoes from Fanteakwa are safe for consumption. However, in view of the damaging effects on human health and the environment, regular monitoring and analysis of organochlorine residues in the study area is recommended.
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Research and Graduate Studies, Department of Theoretical and Applied Biology Kwame Nkrumah University of Science And Technology, Kumasi, In Partial Fulfilment of the requirements for the Award of Master of Science (MSC. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE) October 2013