Pesticides are chemicals used on crops to protect them against fungi, insects, and other pests. Additionally, they safeguard public health by controlling the vectors of diseases, such as mosquitoes. However, pesticides are toxic in nature and can pose severe health hazards if consumed. They are known to be carcinogenic and to affect the nervous and reproductive systems.
Usage of pesticides leaves a residue in food long after they have been applied to crops in agriculture. Maximum levels of permissible pesticide residue have been established by regulatory bodies working in the sectors of food safety and environment across the globe. A host of chemicals used as pesticides, such as the derivatives of chlorine, could cause bioaccumulation in living beings and the environment and get magnified in the higher organisms in the food chain. Their presence has already been detected in fishes, poultry, and various fruits and vegetables. Therefore, pesticides are always analyzed before usage and tested by experts for any possible risk or health effects to humans. If the residue in them exceeds maximum levels set by food safety legislation across the globe, it could end up in frozen, fresh, or canned vegetables & fruits, in processed drinks produced from crops, and processed or fresh animal products. Pesticide residue is tested in laboratories using different techniques such as gas and liquid chromatography for accurate results.
Based on type, the market for pesticide residue testing has been segmented into the following categories: fungicides, insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides, molluscides, and others including nematicides and acaricides. In terms of technology, the market can be segregated into the gas chromatography, immunoassay, high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS), and gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) groups. By class, the pesticide residue testing market is divided into the following segments: organophosphates, organochlorines, fumigants, and pyrethoids.
The market is expected to expand at a significant pace owing to increasing consumer awareness regarding the consumption of contamination-free food, the global organic revolution, and technological advancements. Stringent government regulations regarding food safety and environment are likely to propel the market as well. The herbicides segment which includes trifluralin and glyphosate accounted for a prominent share in the market in 2015 which is predicted to rise over the next few years. By technology, LC-MS holds a key share in the pesticide residue testing market due to the high sensitivity and accuracy it offers, which make it functional in various applications. HPLC is second in line owing to its ease of operation. However, lack of awareness among crop producers as well as deficient resources and food control infrastructure could hinder the development of this market during the forecast period.
Geographically, Europe constitutes a major share in the pesticide residue testing market on account of stringent government regulations on food contamination coupled with the presence of multiple food industries in this region. Europe is also a prominent international trader of food and food products. This, along with the implementation of the European Commission’s (EC) framework regarding the usage of pesticides through integrated pest management (IPM) are factors motivating the growth of pesticide residue testing over the forecast period. The market in North America is projected to expand owing to the research and development infrastructure in the region and efforts made by the government to promote the production of contamination-free food by lowering the usage of pesticides exceeding the maximum residue levels among manufacturers. The market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to advance at rapid pace due to the growing demand for contamination-free food among consumers and the rise in testing laboratories and food industries in emerging economies such as China and India. Middle East & Africa is likely to offer moderate growth opportunities to the pesticide residue testing during the forecast period.
Key players operating in the market include SGS SA, Eurofins Scientific, Symbio Laboratories, and Microbac Laboratories, Inc.
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