This article is reproduced after the book: Biostimulant Albit for increasing yields and protection of agricultures against diseases, A.K. Zlotnikov, Ed. Prof. E.À. Melkumova.
Principal purpose of pesticides is eradication of pests and suppression of their growth, therefore most of them are quite toxic. Problems of toxicity of pesticides and attendant problems of hygiene and personnel defense, storage and recycling of unused and expired pesticides, protection of environment are challenging to today’s agriculture. Lots of chemical pesticides such as group of chlororganic compounds, triazines, derivates of picoline acid are very stable in biological media, that brings a danger of their accumulation in natural environment. Frequent using of the same pesticides leads to formation of resistant pathogenic strains. Moreover, chemical pesticides affect both harmful and useful organisms, that lead to damages in ecosystems.
Only some of bioformulations and very few of chemical means of plant protections are not toxic to humans, animals, plants and environment.
Comprehensive study of toxicological and hygienic effect of Albit on higher animals, fish, bees and water organisms was carried out in 1999-2008 in Research and Development Center of Toxicology and Hygienic Regulation of Biological Preparations of Ministry of Health of Russia, All-Russia Institute of Nature Conservation, R&D Institute of Fish Breeding and All-Russia Institute of Veterinary Sanitary, Hygiene and Ecology Rus. Acad. Agric. Sci. According to results of this study, Albit was rated as Class 4 Hazardous Agent after GOST 12.1.007-76 (practically non-toxic compounds), whereas absolute majority of pesticides belong to more dangerous 1, 2 and 3 classes of hazard. Even many of well-known bioformulations belong to 3rd class of hazard; in other words, Albit is remarked for its harmlessness even as compared to analogous bio-products.
Albit also shows no toxicity to plants (phytotoxicity). Application of Albit does not require any special hygienic safety precautions. Albit is safe to use (non-explosive, non-combustible) and possesses pleasant coniferous smell. In soil and plant tissues Albit is quickly degraded to non-toxic natural compounds.
Problems of pesticides toxicity are important not only in respect to their hygienic properties and influence on staff and animals, but also in respect to organic crop production (environmentally-friendly, organic farming).
Albit is allowed for use in organic farming of Switzerland and the European Union (see the certificates). This advantage is unique among Russian products.
In the European Union countries, where quality standards of agricultural production are especially high, farmers are additionally subsidized for decrease of chemical pesticide load on plants. Application of Albit on apple, vine, strawberry, and other horticultures, berry cultures and vegetables makes it possible to manufacture safe organic production of high dietary quality. According to reports of All-Russia Institute of Plant Protection, application of Albit on apple and berry cultures made possible 3-fold reduction of chemical fungicides consumption, that is especially important for manufacturing of agricultural production used for infant food and alimentary therapy. In case of vine, the application of Albit makes a 50% reduction of chemical fungicides consumption possible (All-Russia Institute of Viticulture and Vine processing, North-Caucasian Institute of Horticulture and Viticulture, 2002-2004). According to reports of All-Russia Institute of Vegetable Selection and Seed Breeding, Albit decreases vegetables nitrates content by 16-26 % and shifts ascorbic acid/nitrates ratio towards physiologically safe values, thus, improving their quality and safety.
The primary active ingredient of Albit – poly-beta-hydroxybutyric acid (poly-beta -hydroxybutyrate, PHB) belongs to completely non-toxic biocompatible biopolymers. In particular, it is used for manufacturing of the environmentally-friendly packaging material, osteal and chondral implants in the surgery, microcapsules for the controlled medicine dosage. Within several days PHB granules of Albit are completely destroyed by the natural soil and plant microbial community.
Due to the application of Albit in the organic farming there might a problem arising from the fact that the product contains mineral fertilizers (nitrate, sulphate, phosphate etc.) reinforcing PHB effect, which should not be used in the organic crop production as its products may preserve their residual quantities.
This problem was brought up when considering toxicological properties of the preparation during the assessment carried out by the Ministry of Health Care in 2004. For this assessment, Albit LLC specialists prepared the below summarizing table:Table. Comparison of the mineral components content in Albit working solution and their natural content in plants (soil)
For the purpose of this table, 1% Albit concentration in working solution is used (which is maximum concentration applied in practice, recommended for the sunflower seeds treatment). In fact 0.1–0.5% solution is used for the seeds treatment of the majority of agricultures, and 0.1% solution – at vegetation spraying.
Thus, the mineral content in Albit spray material even at its maximum allowable concentration is 1.2–11.5 times lower than natural content of these substances in the plants (and when spraying vegetative plants with Albit solution – 120–1150-fold lower). In the latter, case only very small amount of the spray hits on each plant, and the actual quantity of mineral substances delivered with Albit is even smaller.
When applying recommended dosages, negligibly small quantities of the mineral substances are introduced with Albit spray material – much smaller, than those naturally contained in the plants. Correspondingly, residual concentrations in the crop products are completely absent.
This fact is validated by the regulatory documents. Application of Albit preparation in accordance with the approved application standards does not lead to the exceeding of hygienic standards of the toxic and hazardous compounds contained in cultivated agricultural products (National Sanitary Regulations SANPIN 18.104.22.1688-01), in the domestic and community water consumption (Hygienic Regulations 22.214.171.1245-03 and 126.96.36.1996-03), and in agricultural soils (HR 188.8.131.521-06, HR 184.108.40.2062-06) (“Protocol of Sanitary and Healthcare Inspection of Federal Supervision Agency for Customer Protection and Human Welfare No.220.127.116.119.À.001215.12.08 dated 05.12.2008”).
Albit is approved for use in the fishery conservation zones of water bodies (“Expert Opinion on the Materials of Toxic-commercial fishing Characteristics of Plant Growth Regulator, Fungicide and Antidote Albit, Rostov-on-Don, ARDIF, 2008”, “State Registration Certificate under No. 1686-09-107-150-0-0-3-1, 2008”).
The largest leading vegetable-growing farm in Moscow region, Dashkovka, has been using Albit for several years, and its production is certified by Moscow System of Voluntary Certification as ‘Ecological Products’.
Albit does not exhibit toxic properties, but on the contrary, when applied in combination is capable of reducing or completely abolishing toxic effect of chemical pesticides on the agricultural plants (antidote effect). It is the cause of high effectiveness of mixtures of Albit and chemical fungicides, herbicides and insecticides.
Albit significantly reduces mycotoxin contamination of crop yields (see more detailed information on this issue).
Albit is able to selectively reduce the accumulation of radionuclides in biomass of agricultural plants. It was demonstrated in field experiments by All-Russia Institute of Legume and Groat Crops RAAS, carried out in Orel region (2001-2003), that Albit definitely reduces the uptake of radioactive elements with the yield. When treating pea plants with Albit (pre-sowing and vegetation sprays), Cesium radionuclide contamination of the yield according to perennial data was decreasing by 2.5-7.1 Bq/kg (9.6-21.1%) in comparison with the control. Radiocesium accumulation factor was decreasing by 0.005-0.03 (3.5-20%). Possible mechanism of such preparation activity is radioactive isotope fractionating between the soil and the plant, affected by microbial community of soil and plant surface, under the influence of Albit.
Below are given the main toxicological characteristics of Albit (according to the data of R&D Center of Toxicology and Hygienic Regulations of Biological Preparations, Ministry of Health and Social Development of Russian Federation):
Acute inhalation toxicity. LD50 of single endotracheal introduction of preparative form of Albit for white rats exceeds maximal tested and technically reachable concentration – 4166 mg/m³ (2375 mg/m³ of dry substance). This means that even the highest concentration which they could technically test in the lab is still lower than LD50 (cannot kill 50% of tested rats). So, LD50 concentration of Albit is very high, and the toxicity of the product is very low. The higher is LD50, the less toxic is the product.
Acute peroral toxicity. LD50 of preparative form of Albit is 28060 mg/kg for rats and 17780 mg/kg for mice (15994 and 10135 mg/kg of dry substance respectively).
Albit is approximately 8 times less toxic than table salt (LD50 for rats 3320 mg/kg) and 22 times less toxic than aspirin (LD50 = 1240 mg/kg).
Acute cutaneous toxicity. LD50 of single introduction of preparative form of Albit over skin for white rats exceeds maximal tested concentration 6500 mg/kg (3705 mg/kg of dry substance).
Mucous membranes and skin irritant activity. Irritation of skin at single (4 hours) and multiple (20 applications within 30 days) applications is not detected. Irritant activity to mucous membranes of rabbit eyes at single application is estimated to be weak; threshold irritation concentration of Albit is 25%.
Subacute peroral toxicity (cumulative properties). Cumulative action of endogastric introduction of Albit (2800 mg/kg) five times a week during 2 months to rats was not detected; there were no cases of animal deaths, so accumulation coefficient was not revealed. According to results of clinical observations of animals, hematological assays of blood, assays of urea composition and pathomorphological tests there was no noticeable changes in comparison to control. So, Albit does not have any cumulative activity.
Subacute cutaneous toxicity. According to results of clinical observations of animals, hematological assays of blood, assays of urea composition and pathomorphological tests, Skin absorbtion activity of twenty 4-hour/day applications of Albit to rats (6500 mg/kg) during 30 days was not detected. Albit is not dermatologically hazardous.
Subacute inhalation toxicity. Albit is not inhalation hazardous, since its preparative form (paste) and components are not volatile, the bioformulation is low-toxic at peroral and inhalation introduction (4th class of danger).
Sensibilizing activity. Albit being repeatedly introduced to laboratory animals (rats and mice) through skin or respiratory tract did not provoked any delayed-type hypersensitivity or immediate hypersensitivity in experiments in vivo and in vitro.
Immunotoxic activity of Albit (examined with measurement of phagocitary activity of peritoneal macrophages and concentration of T and B lymphocytes) at parenteral introduction to guinea pigs was not detected.
In addition to its own low toxicity, Albit is used in combination with chemical pesticides to reduce or even completely abolish their toxic activity to plants. It is the cause of high effectiveness of mixtures of Albit and fungicides, herbicides and insecticides. In details, this phenomenon is described here.
Environmental friendliness of Albit has its disadvantages too. For example, due to its low toxicity Albit is easily degraded by natural microbial community if placed on the surface of seeds or vegetative parts of plants. Therefore, Albit can not remain intact on the surface of seeds for long time, and presowing seed treatment with Albit should be performed at most 24 hours prior to sowing (planting). Joint application of Albit with chemical seed treatment agents (which act as preservatives in this case) might considerably prolong shelf life of the treated seeds (up to several months).