Handbook of Pesticides: Methods of Pesticide Residues Analysis

Book Review: Handbook of Pesticides: Methods of Pesticide Residues Analysis.
Edited by Leo M.L. Nollet and Hamir Singh Rathore, CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL. 2010. 608 pp. Hardcover. $169.95. ISBN 978-1-4200-8245-6.

By John Mattice

Handbook of Pesticides: Methods of Pesticide Residues AnalysisHandbook of Pesticides is a collection of 22 chapters by different authors and is organized into three sections: “General Aspects,” “Techniques and Analysis,” and “Pesticides and the Environment.” Most chapters are well written, and many have numerous references, although each reference was not necessarily used in the text.

There are also instances of claims in the text that should have been referenced that were not. In some cases, table and figure legends are insufficient to allow the reader to know what is being covered. The chapter “Analysis of Pesticides in Food Samples by Supercritical Fluid Chromatography” was enlightening to a certain degree. However, this chapter actually compares supercritical fluid chromatrography and microwave-assisted extraction, although the title gives no indication of this, meaning that an interested reader could easily miss this discussion and information.

As the book is a collection of papers written by different authors, many chapter introductions describe what pesticides are, how they are classified, how they work, extent of use, or how they can be beneficial but also cause harm. All of this material could have been stated once in the introduction, shortening each individual chapter.

The chapter “Use of Planar Chromatography in Pesticide Residue Analysis” is by far the longest (at 78 pages) and is excellent, describing various techniques, apparatus, and applications, and is well referenced. Most chapters describe instrumentation or extraction–cleanup methodology and then give several specific applications.

Overall, the Handbook of Pesticides contains useful information geared more toward graduate students or researchers than toward undergraduates. Thirty years ago, these types of books were useful if the alternative was searching hard copies of data bases like Chem Abstracts. However, as there are now easily accessible online databases, which are widely available and constantly updated, it may be easier and quicker to look up specific or general information regarding current techniques, compounds, or matrices. 

In fact, a 15- to 20-minute search on each of several topics covered in the book using Chem Abstracts online found much of the same information, including papers by the authors who wrote the chapters and people they referenced.

Of 573 references from four chapters in the Handbook of Pesticides, the most recent reference was in 2008, in the chapter “Use of Planar Chromatography in Pesticide Residue Analysis.” The most recent references in the other three chapters come from 2007. Because the copyright date for the book is 2010, this means that these topics do not cover any reports within the last one to three years, depending on whether the papers were published in early 2007 or late 2008.

With the online search, references from 2009 were found. Thus, as time passes, information in the book and/or other books of this type will in fact become more outdated. For some topics, there may be few advances, meaning this information may still be current; other areas, however, may see rapid advances producing newer, faster, easier, or more accurate analytical techniques or methods.

If easy or inexpensive access to databases and search engines on the Internet is unavailable, this may be a useful book. Otherwise, anyone thinking about buying the book should consider how valuable it will be in their situation, with their access to online databases, both now and in the future.

Book Review: Handbook of Pesticides: Methods of Pesticide Residues Analysis.
Source: Journal of Environmental Quality 2010 39:759-759

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