Transition Workshops with stakeholders
January - February 2024

The aim of the workshops on transition pathways is to present the two visions for sustainable plant protection, to brainstorm what management at farm level would look like under each of these visions, and by applying the backcasting method, brainstorm on the building blocks for transition towards these two visions. Moreover, SPRINT workshops also aim to facilitate exchange and mutual learning among the regional stakeholders on transition towards sustainable plant protection.

The workshop was targeted at a wide range of stakeholders; farmers, advisors, technical authorities, researchers, policy makers, breeders, biocontrol firms, civil society, retailers with a focus on progressive, open-minded and forward looking stakeholders who are committed to transition to reduced dependency on synthetic pesticides.

 

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Laboratory experiments 
2023 - 2024

 The SPRINT project conducts diverse laboratory experiments to understand the impacts of Plant Protection Products (PPPs) on ecosystems and human health. Three of the laboratory experiments are highlighted in the picture below. 

1. Gut Health: The SPRINT project includes an experiment on pesticide mixtures and gene expression in gut organoids. This study aims to understand how exposure to pesticide mixtures affects the gene expression in human gut cells. Using advanced organoid models, which mimic the human intestine, researchers can observe changes at the molecular level. This research helps identify potential health risks associated with pesticide exposure and contributes to the development of safer agricultural practices. For more details, visit the WUR project page.

2. Animal behavior: This includes an open field test using a mouse model to study the effects of different concentrations of glyphosate. Mice are fed with varying levels of glyphosate to observe its impact on health, behavior, and physiology. The study aims to determine how glyphosate exposure influences gene expression, gut microbiota, and overall health. 

3. Soil exotoxicology: one of the soil ecotoxicology experiments isfocusing on the impact of pesticides on earthworms. These studies aim to evaluate how different concentrations of pesticides affect earthworm health, behavior, and soil functionality. Earthworms are key indicators of soil health due to their role in nutrient cycling and soil structure maintenance. By assessing pesticide toxicity on earthworms, the research provides critical insights into soil ecosystem health and the broader environmental effects of pesticide use

 

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Forth Plenary Meeting 
September 2023

The fourth plenary meeting of the SPRINT project took place in Bordeaux in September 2023. This meeting was a wonderful event where project members convened to discuss progress, share results, and plan future activities. The focus was on evaluating the outcomes of field campaigns and laboratory experiments, as well as setting the stage for upcoming research phases. The meeting facilitated collaboration and knowledge exchange among participants, reinforcing the project's commitment to advancing sustainable plant protection practices. New this year was the fact that there were special sessions that involved presentations by postdocs and PhD candidates on pesticide impacts, ecosystem effects, and sustainable land management practices. Additionally, the meeting featured a field trip to St. Emilion, focusing on environmental commitment in wine production, and various workshops aimed at enhancing project collaboration and communication.

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Communication of results to CSS participants
2022 - 2023

As almost all results of the field campaign of 2021 are now analyzed, it is time to communicate these results to our participants of the Case Study Sites. Each Case study site leader will contact the participants (Farmers, Neighbours and Consumers) to update them on the European results, the CSS specific results and even the individual results. 

The Netherlands and Denmark started their communication in 2022 to their participants also showing the individual reports to the farmers about the ecosystem parameters around their farms. Czech Republic and France communicated the results of the field campaign this month. All other CSS will follow in the comming months. 

So far participants were very interested and enthusiastic about the first presented results. SPRINT participants of the field campaign will also be kept up to date of other SPRINT results later on in the project. We would like to thank all our participants across Europe for their valuable contribution.

 presenting results

 

 

Third Plenary meeting
18 to 22 October 2022

The third Plenary meeting of SPRINT is starting in Opatija (Croatia) and online! At the moment WP leaders are updating and inventorying what is needed from each other to continue in the next year. Today also stakeholder activities, toolbox discussion and dissemination activities (and more) will be discussed. 

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After lunch, all other SPRINT partners arrived. An impressive number of 48 participants joined in the conference hotel in Opatija to have a week full of reflection, discussions, and plans for next year. Of course, we also have also people online that could not join in person. The whole week we will be having hybrid meetings.

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First experiments of WP4 start
September 2022

WP2 was inventorizing the PPPs that are present in different matrixes. WP4 is now starting and converts this field data to targeted experiments. One of the first experiment to start is our ecotox earthworm experiment. We expose two different earthworms species (Eisenia fetida and Lumbricus rubellus) to different PPPs that were found in the Case Study Sites and test what the effect is on biomass, reproductivity and mortality. 

eartworm exp in the picture

 

 

Third Plenary meeting is planned! 

The coordination team always has something to do with such a big consortium as SPRINT. After a successful meeting in Ljubljana, it is already time to start thinking about our third plenary meeting. In consultation with our partners in Croatia, we will host the 2022 meeting there. For everyone involved in SPRINT as a consortium member: Save the date: 12-16 Sept. 2022! 


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Field Campaing - CSS Argentina, Spain and Italy
October - December 2021

The last three Case Study Sites started their sampling period as well! They are later than the other 9 CSS because these specific case studies involve winter crops. The first step was placing the dust sampler and the insect traps in the respective fields, followed by the environmental, animal, and human samples collection. See some pictures below. 

 

   Sampling in Argentina Argentina

 

   Sampling in Spain (Broccoli)spain compilation picture

 


Second Plenary meeting - Field Excursion 

On the 25th of October, all partners that participated in person had the chance of going on a field trip organized by Matjaz Glavan. We started the day with a visit to the organic dairy farm Kukenberger. Here we got a very informative presentation from the farmer and had a nice discussion afterward about the barriers for farmers to move from conventional to organic. A very nice surprise was the possibility to taste different cheeses from the farm. We finished our visit with a tour of the farmland.

Hereafter we traveled to organic cattle farm Zabukovec where also a presentation was given by the farmer, accompanied by his parents. Again we were able to taste the pure products of the farm, different types of dried meats. Both farmers are also a participant in the SPRINT project! 

In order to experience Slovenia and its culture at best, we visited the Museum of Hayracks. It consists of 19 different drying structures originating from the Mirna Valley, except for one hayrack which comes from the vicinity of Ivančna Gorica. The museum’s purpose is to show the development of hayracks through time, space, and social meaning from simple drying structures to complex forms of double hayracks

Finally, we closed the day with a wine tasting at – Winery Frelih. The wines and dishes reflect the rich tradition and characteristics of the area.

It was a wonderful perfectly organized day for us all, in which we got more insight into the farming systems and Slovenia itself. 

 field trip

 

Second Plenary meeting
18 to 22 October 

the second Plenary meeting of SPRINT is ongoing in Ljubjana and online! Yesterday stakeholder activities were discussed and in the afternoon training on Gender was given. At the moment we have interesting presentations from all Work Package leaders about their progress and planning for the coming year. 

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Second Plenary meeting is planned! 

save the date

 

The sampling campaign has started!
May-June 2021 

Most of our Case Study Site teams already started their sampling campaign. The first step was placing the dust sampler and the insect traps in the respective fields, followed by the environmental, animal, and human samples collection. See some pictures below.

 Sampling in Portugal (vineyards)

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  Sampling in the Netherlands (potato) sampling netherlands

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 Sampling in Denmark (cereals)

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DenmarkSampling3 DenmarkSampling2

 

Sampling in the Czech Republic (oil plants) f0438ea8-18a0-4413-bbea-1765a9dfaa28.jpgA.jpg

 

 

Pre-season interviews with farmers - WP6 
March-May 2021 

Case Study Site leaders will visit the farmers in their country that will be participating in SPRINT. During their visit, they will interview the farmers but also CSS-L gets to know the farms better. This gives a chance to plan the sampling (during the season) in more detail. 

The interview is the first interview for WP6. This Work Package evaluates the case studies in terms of environmental and economic sustainability in a cost-benefit (C-B) analysis of different farming scenarios (C-I-O) across spatial scales. A pre-sampling interview will give more insight into the general farm description and the blueprints of the crop-specific management practices. After the season ends, a second interview will take place in order to complement the information with the management activities and experiences linked to the reference growing season.

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Training by experts for Case Study Site Leaders
11 to 12 March 2021 

On the 11th of March, the training for all of the 11 Case Study Site Leaders kicked off with workshops from WP2. Different experts explained how we should interview people that participate in the SPRINT study. In small groups we practiced the Q&A which was very valueble in order to get familiar with the questions but also to ask experts for more detailed explanations. 

Another part of the day was a detailed explanation on how to sample humans and animals for different matrixes, such as urine and blood. Sometimes  accompanied by interesting visual material.  

The next day was dedicated to environmental sampling: Soil, water, sediment, microvertebrates, insects, fish and plants. All in all it was very informative and also the lively discussion followed afterwards, will help the sampling of SPRINT to improve even further. 

 WP2 training picture  WP2 training

 

 

Pre-screening sampling activities
9 to 23 November 2020

Case study site (CSS) data is crucial to define the list of compounds for the project and to start the analytical work preparations. This starts with WP2 which involves a relatively wide range of active substances and metabolites. At a later stage, based on the outcome of WP2 analyses, sub-selections will be made for further work (including mixtures) within WP3 and WP4. 

CSS-leaders were asked to collect a few samples from conventional farms for a pre-screen field testing, i.e. untargeted pesticide residues analyses. Soil, freshwater sediment, household dust and stable dust were collected in all the 11 case study sites and send to Wageningen for analysis. 

1 samples collection Medicina IT Daria Sgargi sampling the fields in the Po Basin area -  Italy

CSS presampling groningen  Paula and Noa in the Dutch CSS for pre-sampling - 18 november 2020
  (Foto credits: Esperanza Huerta Lwanga)

 

prescreen Jakub CSS Czech  Jacub taking samples in the pre-sampling in Czech

denmark  The pre-screening sites of CSS-Denmark Foto credits: Trine Norgaard

 

 

Kick-off Meeting 
12 to 15 October 2020

Given the current COVID-19 situation, we decided to have an online Kick-Off Meeting. In this KOM we will lay the foundation for a streamlined and like-minded collaboration between all partners.

online kickoff