Given the costs associated with designing novel active ingredients, new formulations focus on the use of other ingredients to modify existing formulations. Nanosized encapsulated pesticides offer a variety of enhanced features including controlled release and improved efficacy. Despite the presence of nanosized capsules in current-use pesticide formulations, the analytical and toxicological implications of encapsulation are uncertain. To explore this issue quantitatively, we fractionated the capsules of a commercially available encapsulated insecticide formulation (γ-cyhalothrin active ingredient) into two size ranges: a large fraction (LF), with an average hydrodynamic diameter (HDD) of 758 nm, and a small fraction (SF), with an average HDD of 449 nm. We developed a novel extraction method demonstrating a time-dependent inhibition of γ-cyhalothrin from capsules for up to 48 h. An acute immobilization test with a freshwater macroinvertebrate (Ceriodaphnia dubia
) revealed that the SF was significantly more toxic than both the LF and the free γ-cyhalothrin treatment (EC50 = 0.18 µg/L, 0.57 µg/L, and 0.65 µg/L, respectively). These findings highlight that encapsulation of γ-cyhalothrin mitigates hydrophobic partitioning in a time-dependent manner and influences toxicity in a size-dependent manner. Recognizing the analytical and toxicological nuances of various nanosized capsules can contribute to innovation in pesticide formulations and may lead to more comprehensive pesticide regulation.
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