Food security and pollinator crisis

Project: Research Project

Project Details


The balance between population growth and food production and access is one of the main challenges for the 21st century. It is estimated that by 2050 global food production needs will be 70-100% higher than today. Efforts to increase land productivity include genetic improvement of crops and the use of agrochemicals that increase production and decrease the effect of pests. However, some agrochemicals produce harmful side effects on beneficial species. Such is the case of neonicotinoids, neurotoxic insecticides that are currently part of the equation that explains the rapid disappearance of pollinators, mainly bees. Since pollinators support the production of up to 80% of food in some regions, their disappearance increases production costs and decreases crop productivity. In addition, the disappearance of pollinators deteriorates the balance of natural ecosystems, affecting, for example, the availability of water. The solutions have taken several directions, pointing to the establishment of policies to regulate the use of agrochemicals, to the elaboration of conservation plans and to the evaluation of the negative effects of agrochemicals. This proposal takes a pioneering approach by focusing on the use of pharmacological neuroprotection for pollinators. Our preliminary results show that the cognitive effects of Imidacloprid, the world's most widely used neonicotinoid, are mitigated by the prophylactic administration of two molecules of plant originA. This proposal seeks to: 1. optimize the dose-response-protective ratio of bees in order to lay the groundwork for field trials, 2. conduct trials to evaluate the protection afforded during the development of bees, 3. evaluate the immunoprotective potential of molecules 4. study the causes of the observed protection, thus laying the groundwork for its potentiation.

Layman's description

It is estimated that by 2050 global food production needs will be 70-100% higher than at present. Efforts to increase land productivity include the use of agrochemicals. Some agrochemicals, such as the so-called neonicotinoids, produce harmful side effects on beneficial species. The objective of this proposal is to analyze whether it is possible to protect the beneficial species in a pharmacological manner, thus diminishing the impact of neonicotinoids.
Short titleFood security
Effective start/end date8/1/188/1/23

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Main Funding Source

  • Great Amount


  • Bogotá D.C.


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