Research & Studies

Copper Content and Export in European Vineyard Soils Influenced by Climate and Soil Properties

The article was written with the contribution of Gergely Tóth deputy-director of iASK and was released in Environmental Science & Technology in 2021.



Copper-based fungicides (Cuf) are used in European (EU) vineyards to prevent fungal diseases. Soil physicochemical properties locally govern the variation of the total copper content (Cut) in EU vineyards. However, variables controlling Cut distribution at a larger scale are poorly known. Here, machine learning techniques were used to identify governing variables and to predict the Cut distribution in EU vineyards. Precipitation, aridity and soil organic carbon are key variables explaining together 45% of Cut distribution across EU vineyards. This underlines the effect of both climate and soil properties on Cut distribution. The average net export of Cu at the EU scale is 0.29 kg Cu ha–1, which is 2 orders of magnitude less than the net accumulation of Cu (24.8 kg Cu ha–1). Four scenarios of Cuf application were compared. The current EU regulation with a maximum of 4 kg Cu ha–1 year–1 may increase by 2% of the EU vineyard area, exceeding the predicted no-effect concentration (PNEC) in soil in the next 100 years. Overall, our results highlight the vineyard areas requiring specific remediation measures and strategies of Cuf use to manage a trade-off between pest control and soil and water contamination.


Keywords: copper-based fungicides, total copper content, predicted no-effect concentration


The article is available HERE.