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Obsolete Organic Pesticides in Kazakhstan


Occurrence, Distribution and Fate of Obsolete Organic Pesticides in Southern and Northern Kazakhstan

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-MIN/Monitoring and Instrumentation/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Kazakh National University / Center of Physical and Chemical Methods of Analysis, Kazakstan, Almaty

Supporting institutes

  • National Biotechnology Center of Kazakstan / Institute of Plant Biology and Biotechnology, Kazakstan, Almaty\nScientific and Analytical Center Biomedpreparat LLC, Kazakstan, Stepnogorsk


  • Wageningen UR, The Netherlands, Wageningen\nAwareness Center, Denmark, Roskilde\nUniversity of Waterloo, Canada, ON, Waterloo\nIowa State University of Science and Technology, USA, IA, Ames

Project summary

The Project aim. Within the framework of this project it is planned to elucidate a character of occurrence, distribution and fate of obsolete organic pesticides (OOPs) in Southern and Northern Kazakhstan, develop an environmental monitoring system of territories affected by pollution with OOPs and recommendation for minimizing of environmental risks caused by obsolete pesticides.

Current status. According to the data provided by Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations, the total volume of obsolete pesticides located in Kazakhstan is about 10000 tons. Studies of 9 regions performed by A. Nurzhanova and colleagues from Institute of Biology and Biotechnology of Plants allowed to reveal 64 demolished warehouses formerly used for storage of pesticides in Soviet Union time. Preliminary studies showed that on the certain distance from warehouses, obsolete pesticides can be detected in soils in concentrations of up to 100 times more than maximum allowable concentration (MAC) value. For the time being, no data on the actual distribution and fate of the OOPs in Kazakhstan is available.

The project’ influence on progress in this area. In the present project, a large array of valuable data on occurrence, distribution and fate of OOPs in Southern and Northern Kazakhstan will be obtained, analyzed and mapped for further decision making.

The participants’ expertise: Laboratory “Ecology of Biosphere” of CPCMA of al-Farabi KazNU has solid background in organizing of complex multi-disciplinary environmental monitoring systems and study of environmental transformation, fate and impacts in different areas like rocket space activity (ISTC K-451, K-451.2, K-1482 projects, State Program of Kazakhstan “Development of Space Activity in Kazakhstan” and others), extraction of xenobiotics (petroleum hydrocarbons, heavy metals, etc.). Laboratory “Ecology of Biosphere” of CPCMA is certified for a broad range of xenobiotics in different matrices. A number of modern analytical methods of analysis of environmental objects for the presence of different xenobiotics have been developed by analytical chemists of CPCMA using chromatographic, mass spectrometric and hyphenated methods. About 10 methods were certified by State Standard of Kazakhstan. Results of studies and recent developments are regularly published in leading international journals like Chemosphere, Analytica Chimica Acta, Chromatographia and others. CPCMA has strong collaboration with foreign Universities and Research Centers from Denmark, Netherlands, USA, Great Britain and other countries, a number of joint research projects were completed.

A group of Dr. Nurzhanova from Institute of Biology and Biotechnology of Plants have solid background in the area of phytoremediation of soils contaminated with obsolete pesticides obtained during fulfillment of ISTC project K-750. They got strong experience in examination of the territory of warehouses of OOPs and collected a lot of data on location of main hotspots of pollution in Kazakhstan which are really important for realization of the purpose of the present project.

Biomedpreparat LLC has a certified laboratory and personnel for carrying out analyses of environmental objects for the presence of obsolete pesticides. Its group has a solid background in determination of pesticides in various objects and will be used for inter-laboratory quality control of analyses.

Expected results and their application.

During fulfillment of the project, the following results will be obtained:

  1. A map of location of hotspots of pollution with obsolete pesticides in Southern and Northern Kazakhstan
  2. Optimized methods for the analysis of obsolete pesticides in environmental samples.
  3. A list of obsolete pesticides and their toxic metabolites detected in environmental objects
  4. An optimized sampling methodology to study the distribution and fate of pesticides in Southern and Northern Kazakhstan
  5. Database containing results of more than 10000 analyses of environmental objects possibly contaminated with obsolete pesticides.
  6. GIS on distribution and fate of obsolete pesticides in Southern and Northern Kazakhstan.
  7. A generalized model for an appropriate monitoring system for territories possibly contaminated with obsolete pesticides
  8. Recommendations for minimization of ecological risks caused by obsolete pesticides
  9. Publications in international peer-review journals and mass media

The results of the project can be applied as background material for possible subsequent remediation and clean-up projects in Kazakhstan.

The positive experience of development of a modern monitoring system will be obtained which will be used to set up a high-quality environmental monitoring system in Kazakhstan. The realization of the project will also allow to initiate a transfer of a modern environmental technologies for solution of environmental problems in Kazakhstan.

The results of this project should also be seen as a capacity building for CPCMA laboratory in the sense that this laboratory is centrally placed and as such may constitute a natural analytical center for possible analogous studies on OOPs in nearby countries, e.g., Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, where also major amounts of OOPs are present.

Meeting the ISTC goals and objectives. During fulfillment of the project, weapon scientists and specialists of CIS countries will get possibilities for reorientation of their abilities to peaceful activity; fundamental and applied investigations and development of technologies in peaceful purposes, especially in the field of environmental protection will be supported; national and international technical problems in the field of contamination with obsolete pesticides will be contributed to solution;

Scope of activities. The following activities will be implemented under the Project:

  • Optimization of analytical methods for environmental objects contaminated with obsolete organic pesticides;
  • Development of a methodology to study the distribution and fate of obsolete organic pesticides in Southern and Northern Kazakhstan areas;
  • Sampling, GC-MS and GC-ECD analysis of more than 10000 environmental samples from selected experimental sites in Southern and Northern Kazakhstan areas;
  • Development and implementation of GIS to evaluate distribution and fate of obsolete pesticides in Southern and Northern Kazakhstan areas. Development of an appropriate monitoring system;
  • Results presentation to the international scientific community, local governmental agencies and mass media.

Role of Foreign Collaborators/Partners. Collaborators Lars Carlsen and Tim Grotenhuis have solid background in various areas of environmental sciences and has agreed to provide their expertise in appropriate areas of the project, participate in joint seminars and possibly in specific research tasks. Lars Carlsen and Tim Grotenhuis have a support of al-Farabi Kazakh National University to visit CPCMA once a year with lectures and for consultations. Lars Carlsen and Katrin Vorkamp (National Environmental Research Institute, Roskilde, Denmark) will supervise two 2-months trainings of Yerbolat Sailaukhanuly in National Environmental Research Institute (Denmark) on modern analytical methods, which will be funded by al-Farabi Kazakh National University via its Ph.D. program.

Technical approach and methodology. During fulfillment of the Project, the most modern technical approaches and methodologies will be used: multi-dimensional gas chromatography with mass-spectrometric and electron capture detections for reliable quantitative determination of toxic obsolete pesticides, excessive collection of data about contaminated samples and simplicity of identification of analytes and their transformation products via mass spectral data; solid-phase microextraction (SPME) for automation, sample throughput, time and cost saving and field sampling/sample preparation; headspace sampling for fast screening analysis; liquid chromatography with diode-array and electrochemical detections (HPLC/DAD) for non-volatile and thermally labile pesticides and quality control; mass–spectrometry with inductively coupled plasma (ICP/MS) for rapid and sensitive elemental analysis; atomic–absorption spectrometry for reliable metal analysis; X-Ray fluorescence spectroscopy for fast elemental analysis of environmental objects; GIS with aerial and satellite imagery for generalization, visualization and efficiency of further method decision.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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