The Pesticide Paradigm

  • Robert L. ZimdahlEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Agriculture book series (BRIEFSAGRO)


The use of natural and synthetic chemicals as pesticides is an ancient agricultural practice. In 1000 B.C., Homer wrote of the pest averting sulphur. In 470 B.C., Democritus suggested that residues from the production of olive oil could be used to cure blight. The harmful effects of salt were mentioned by Xenophon in 400 B.C. and the Romans sowed their enemies’ fields with salt as continuing punishment (Smith and Secoy 1976). Mercurous chloride was first used as a fungicide for seed treatment in 1755 and Bordeaux mixture (copper sulphate, lime and water) was discovered in France in 1865. It was used to control downy mildew on grapevines. Selective control of weeds began around 1900 in France, Germany and the US using sulphates and nitrates of heavy metals. The first synthetic organic chemicals were introduced in 1932 (2-methyl-4,6-dinitrophenol for weed control) and in 1934 the first patent on dithiocarbamates as fungicides was granted.


Pest Control Downy Mildew Pest Population Copper Sulphate Bordeaux Mixture 
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Copyright information

© Robert L. Zimdahl 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest ManagementColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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