Environmental Fate, Distribution and Human Exposure to Neonicotinoids in Australia

April 2022October 2025
Australian Research Council

The aim of this research is to investigate the occurrence of neonicotinoids, a group of chemicals used to control harmful insects, in the Australian terrestrial environment and evaluate the exposure of honeybees and humans to these chemicals. 

The proposed thesis chapters will include:

  • Chapter 1: a review of the literature around the fate and distribution of neonicotinoids, including exposure of bees and humans;
  • Chapter 2: the determination of sorption parameters of neonicotinoids in Australian soils;
  • Chapter 3: an investigation into the sampling and analysis of honey as a potential tool for assessing spatial exposure of bees to neonicotinoids and their metabolites;
  • Chapter 4: systematic sampling and analysis of honey samples for the determination of spatio-temporal factors that influence neonicotinoid occurrence; 
  • Chapter 5: the aim is to establish analytical methods to measure neonicotinoids and their metabolites in pooled human urine to assess human exposure to neonicotinoids across Australia.

The results from each chapter will allow the estimation of the presence of neonicotinoids in soils after application, exposure of bees and humans to such chemicals, and a general understanding of their spatial distribution in the environment. 

Research Impact

This project has facilitated a collaboration with the Victoria Environmental Protection Authority for honey sampling to investigate hive health across Victorian beehives. Similarly, there is a collaboration with the Department of Environment and Science to investigate the soil sorption of neonicotinoids.  

Project members

Carla Alongi

PhD Candidate

Prof Jochen Mueller

Theme Leader, Emerging Environmental Health Risks