Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 3569–3577 | Cite as

Pesticides in three rural rivers in Guangzhou, China: spatiotemporal distribution and ecological risk

  • Xiao-Yan Tang
  • Yang YangEmail author
  • Nora Fung-Yee Tam
  • Ran Tao
  • Yu-Nv Dai
Research Article


Frequent and widespread pesticide use is a major concern for both human and environmental health. The aim of this study was to screen for 19 pesticides in rural rivers in Guangzhou, China, evaluating the potential impact of detected pesticides on the local ecosystem. Sampling was performed in rural rivers in three environment types: agricultural, industrial, and unpolluted, with sampling of water and sediments in both wet and dry seasons. A total of 11 pesticides were detected overall and their spatiotemporal distribution in water and ecological risk were assessed. Five pesticides were detected at concentrations above 100 ng L−1, with the highest concentration pesticides being dimethoate (1318 ng L−1) in surface water and quinalphos (328 ng g−1 dry weight (dw)) in sediments. The most commonly detected pesticides were chlorpyrifos, acetochlor, and butachlor with detection frequencies of 50–57% and 29–43%, in water and sediments, respectively. Samples from the agricultural rural river contained the most pesticides and at higher concentrations, as compared to industrial and unpolluted areas, especially during the wet season. Ecotoxicological risk assessment through Risk Quotients (RQs) showed that chlorpyrifos and fenvalerate pose high ecological risks in water and therefore, reduction of the source input of these pesticides is essential.


Pesticides Risk assessment Wastewater Sediment Rural river 


Funding information

This project was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. U1501235).

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3808_MOESM1_ESM.docx (217 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 217 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiao-Yan Tang
    • 1
  • Yang Yang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Nora Fung-Yee Tam
    • 3
  • Ran Tao
    • 1
  • Yu-Nv Dai
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of HydrobiologyJinan UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Engineering Research Center of Tropical and Subtropical Aquatic Ecological EngineeringMinistry of EducationGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Department of Biology and Chemistry, State Key Laboratory in Marine PollutionCity University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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