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Pesticide information box

© RPB
v. 4/5/2010

Key to MoA Tables

Modes of action (MoA)

Pesticides are often classified according to their chemical groups and this is useful for understanding the properties of a given compound. However, it is the mode of action (MoA) group: which possibly represents the most useful pesticide classification for biologists. For example, MoA entries in the Pesticide Manual may be something like: 'FRAC G1', 'IRAC 2A' or HRAC G' - what do these mean?

From a pesticide industry point of view, one of the most important threats to product sustainability and innovation is the onset of resistance. Research-based companies collaborate (under the auspices of CropLife International) in order to develop better understanding of MoA mechanisms and thus create a "common good" by mitigating the onset of resistance.

Currently, there are four specialist committees:

Understanding pesticide MoA is important for:

  • Resistance management
  • Describing the symptoms and physiology of the method by which a substance is effective, thus …
  • ... its biological activity: including the spectrum and speed of action on target (and non-target) organisms.
  • Providing a convenient classification of pesticides for biologists.

Structures and chemical names of active ingredients can be obtained from the Alan Wood site.

Pesticide Properties Database - developed by:
Agriculture & Environment Research Unit (AERU) at the University of Hertfordshire

Toxicity and EU status: major issues with pesticides

For illustration only, certain compounds have been colour coded:

Active substances coloured in red indicate that they have not been approved for use in
the EU (i.e. they are not listed in Directive EC/91/414 Annex.1).  This does not necessarily mean that there are toxicological or other problems: some are simply not registered for commercial reasons. Substances in yellow with a red background are both highly hazardous and out of Annex 1. Checking for status in the EU is not complete on this page, and reference should be made to the Europa site.
Active substances highlighted in red are extremely or highly hazardous, with products belonging to WHO/EPA toxicity class I.  They are therefore totally unsuitable for untrained and/or unprotected operators. Click here for more on acute Toxicity Classification.
Active substances highlighted in yellow have been superseded (and are often hazardous: in which case they are coloured in red)
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