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Vol. 29 No. 1
January-February 2007

Conference Call | Reports from recent conferences and symposia 
See also www.iupac.org/symposia

Pesticide Chemistry

by Ken Racke

The 11th IUPAC International Congress of Pesticide Chemistry was held 6–10 August 2006 in Kobe, Japan. This long-standing conference was established more than 40 years ago, and the meeting in Kobe marked the first return to Japan since 1982. The congress was organized under the auspices of the IUPAC Division on Chemistry and Environment (VI) and the Pesticide Science Society of Japan (PSSJ), and the meticulous planning and flawless execution were in large measure due to the strong leadership provided by key members of PSSJ, including Organizing Chairman Hideo Ohkawa, Organizing Vice-Chairman Isao Ueyama, PSSJ President Ken Umetsu, Scientific Committee Chairman Hisashi Miyagawa, and Chief Secretariat Mitsuru Sasaki.

Hideo Ohkawa during the Opening ceremony

More than 1 100 chemists from 52 countries participated in the congress, which was organized around the theme “Evolution for Crop Protection, Public Health, and Environmental Safety.” The core of the scientific program consisted of welcoming speeches on behalf of PSSJ and IUPAC, 5 keynote addresses, more than 100 invited lectures, and nearly 600 posters. All the traditional technical strengths of past congresses were well represented by posters and lectures distributed among such main topics as new chemistry, natural products, biopesticides and transgenic crops, mode of action and resistance, environmental chemistry and analysis, metabolism and toxicology, and risk assessment and regulation. The broad range of interests was exemplified by the topics selected for the keynote addresses:

  • James Collins, DuPont, USA, “Challenges and Opportunities in Crop Protection over the Next Decade”
  • Kenji Mori, University of Tokyo, Japan, “Searching for Environmentally Benign Methods for Pest Control — Reflections of a Synthetic Chemist”
  • Shivaji Pandey, FAO, Italy, “Hunger and Malnutrition Amidst Plenty — What Must be Done?”
  • Yang Yongzhen, Institute for the Control of Agrochemicals, Ministry of Agriculture, China, “The Current Status of Pesticide Regulation and Management in China”
  • Ken Racke, IUPAC, USA, “Safety Assessment
    and International Trade Implications of Pesticide
    Residues in Food”.
Ken Racke

The value of the conference’s large poster sessions was enhanced by the organization of 15 topical poster workshops during which selected poster authors were invited to briefly note major points of their research, following which an open discussion occurred. The innovative nature of the research and high quality of the poster presentations was recognized through a series of gold, silver, and bronze awards that were presented across three categories. In addition, a special poster award recognizing outstanding research in scientifically emerging countries was presented for each of the three categories. The Poster Award Committee was chaired by John Unsworth of the IUPAC Division VI Advisory group on Crop Protection Chemistry and included several members of the Division VI Committee. Financial sponsorship for the poster awards was provided by Bayer CropScience. Gold award winners received an IUPAC certificate and a 100 000 Yen prize. The top awardees and their poster topics are listed below:

  • Naoya Ichimaru, Kyoto University, Japan, “Alacacetogenins Are a New Class of Inhibitors of Mitochondrial Complex I”
  • Neil Millar, University College of London, UK and Zewen Liu, Nanjing Agricultural University, China, “A Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Point Mutation Conferring Insecticide Resistance Causes Reduced Agonist Potency to a Range of Neonicotinoids”
  • Yumi Akiyama, Hyogo Prefecture Institute of Public Health and Environmental Science, Japan, “Multiresidue Analysis of 500 Pesticides in Agricultural Products Using GC/MS and LC/MS”

 

Gold medal poster winner Neil Millar (3rd from left) offering his thanks on behalf of all awardees during the ceremony of the 11th IUPAC International Congress of Pesticide Chemistry held 6-10 August 2006, in Kobe, Japan. Poster Award Committee Chair John Unsworth of IUPAC is at the far right.

One innovation incorporated into the programming for Kobe involved 28 seminars organized around luncheons (18) or dinners (10). Each of these one-hour sessions was sponsored by a company, government institute, or scientific association that provided a meal to participants and organized a lecture, discussion, or demonstration topic of their choosing. Between 100 and 240 individuals attended each seminar and the events were quite popular among the attendees, both for the interesting technical aspects and free meals. The topics of these sessions were as diverse as the hosting organizations, and examples of sponsors included the Fraunhofer Institute, Sumitomo Chemical, Immunochemical Society of Japan, IUPAC, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Pesticide chemistry plays an important role in crop protection and agricultural production. This role has been the foundation for many of the main topics that have comprised the IUPAC Congress of Pesticide Chemistry over the years. As reflected by the conference theme, the Kobe Congress organizers also chose to emphasize the role and importance of pesticides in public health protection and disease vector control. Lecture and poster sessions were organized around the topic of vector control chemistry, and a poster workshop discussion was devoted to the specific topic of mosquito control. A luncheon seminar featured Pierre Guillet, director of the World Health Organization’s Global Malaria Program, who explained the increasingly important role of insecticide treated bednets.

In addition to the academic research community, government regulators and industry were also well represented in the congress program. For example, invited lecturers included top regulatory officials from the Japan Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare; Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry; U.S. EPA Office of Pesticide Programs; Chinese Ministry of Agriculture; German Office of Consumer Protection; and Thailand Ministry of Public Health. Industry participation was strong via the technical program of lectures and posters, a healthy commercial exhibition (56 booths), and luncheon and evening seminars. As part of the technical program, a “Research Director Forum” was also organized that focused on industrial R&D success stories and future directions for crop protection chemistry. This first-ever event for the congress series began with short speeches by each of the VP-research directors of the most important agrochemical companies (Bayer, BASF, Dow, DuPont, ISK, Sumitomo, and Syngenta) and was followed by a lively panel discussion.

The Congress organizers made unique efforts to educate the broader public regarding crop protection chemistry and its value to modern society.

Approximately 370 members of the public, consumer groups, and news media participated in an open seminar (in Japanese), which featured Masuru Kitano of Meiji University and emphasized the role and importance of contemporary pesticide technologies. Members of the news media were invited to the opening ceremonies and a subsequent press conference that featured key members of the organizing committee. As a result of these efforts, public awareness of the IUPAC Congress and the importance of pesticide chemistry were raised through several feature articles that appeared in Japanese newspapers and a report on the morning news of Japanese TV station NHK.

IUPAC members played important roles in the planning and execution of the congress, and served prominently on the Congress Advisory Board and the Scientific Program Committee, as session chairs, and invited lecturers. The IUPAC poster awards recognized outstanding poster contributions. An IUPAC booth was developed for the exhibition to display informational materials and highlight crop protection chemistry-related projects. Two IUPAC projects that are nearing completion sponsored seminars as a means of disseminating conclusions and recommendations. These included a seminar on “Global Availability of Information on Agrochemicals” (1) and a seminar on “Impact of Transgenic Crops on the Use of Agrochemicals and the Environment.” (2) The IUPAC Division of Chemistry and the Environment helped fund the attendance of chemists from scientifically emerging countries.

Further information on the recently concluded congress,including abstracts and a colorful newsletter that was published each day of the congress (The Kobe Gazette), is available via the congress website at <www.iupac2006.jtbcom.co.jp>. The Congress proceedings, to include keynote addresses and invited lectures, will be produced by Wiley-VCH, with a target publication date of March 2007. The 12th IUPAC International Congress of Pesticide Chemistry is being organized in cooperation with the Royal Australian Chemical Institute for July 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. Information on future plans will be available at the congress website <www.raci.org.au/iupacicpc2010>.

IUPAC Project References
1 John B. Unsworth, <www.iupac.org/projects/2001/2001-022-1-600.html>
2 Gijs A. Kleter, <www.iupac.org/projects/2001/2001-024-2-600.html>

 

Ken Racke <kracke@dow.com>, a global regulatory leader with Dow AgroSciences in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, is president of the IUPAC Division of Chemistry and the Environment.


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