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Nancy Peña defends her thesis on new life cycle analysis methodologies in pesticides at Torre Marimon


On 21 September, doctoral candidate Nancy Peña Valbuena defended her doctoral thesis “Ecotoxicity assessment of pesticide use: methodological and modeling advances in the LCA framework” in the Josep Tarragó auditorium at IRTA Torre Marimon. The thesis forms part of an international doctorate of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, with a period of study at the Aarhus University and the Denmark Technical University, and was led by Assumpció Anton (IRTA) and Peter Fantke (UB). The tribunal awarded the thesis the classification of ‘Excellent’.

In recent years, significant advances have been achieved in life cycle analysis (LCA) tools regarding the assessment of the use of pesticides in agricultural farming. A wide variety of methodologies have been developed to quantify the impact of the use of pesticides on human health, as well as on the surrounding ecosystems. However, there are still several methodological limitations and inconsistencies that hinder the correct assessment of their impact in LCA. The thesis by the IRTA researcher Nancy Peña Valbuena aims to contribute, from the LCA framework, to the development of quantitative methodologies to assess fractions of emissions and the impact on the toxicity of ecosystems brought about by the use of pesticides.

The results obtained show the importance of considering the use of pesticides in the assessment of the ecotoxicity for agricultural production. Furthermore, they represent a significant improvement regarding the methodologies for quantifying fractions of pesticide emissions, as well as in the determination of their impact on different ecosystems within the LCA framework.

This is the fourth doctoral thesis defended by the IRTA in 2018. In the last 5 years, a total of 40 have been completed.