A masquerade

THT NEW JAPANESE PESTICIDE CARTAP (PADAN) S A Abbasi and Sujata Krishnan Publisher: Ashish Publishing House, Delhi Price: Rs 300

By Sukh Dev
Published: Monday 31 January 1994

THERE are some books in the market that need to be reviewed, if only to reveal a racket of converting doctorate theses into so-called specialised books that at times cost the earth. If you thought every little scientific book provided something new, this book is a must for you.

This "book" deals with the toxicology of an insecticide: cartap (Padan). Unhappily, sequencing the chapters into introduction, materials and methods, findings, summary, conclusion and recommendations makes the book appear like a thesis. The thrust is on the toxicity of cartap against the Indian fish tilapia. The data is provided in terms of impact on biochemical and haematological parameters and acute toxicity.

The title of book is thoroughly misleading. First, cartap is not a new insecticide. Cartap was invented and developed by Takeda Chemical Industries as the compound T 1258 and was registered under the trade name Padan in 1967 in Japan. Thus cartap is a quarter of a century old. And, the fact that it was introduced in India in 1988 hardly makes it new.

Second, one would have expected a discussion on all aspects of the compound such as its chemistry and technology, mode of action, its toxicity to higher vertebrates, vectors that can be controlled, results of application to different crops and residue analysis. But, all you get is a study on fish toxicity and that, too, of a single species.

The book comes out with a poor treatment of the topic. One would have liked to see at least a summary of fish toxicity data collected by Takeda Chemicals or case histories of fish poisoning in countries that have used the pesticide. There is no justification whatsoever for the authors' conclusion that this compound has significant toxicity towards non-target organisms when they have no other data except on the tilapia fish.

One is really at a loss to understand the inspiration behind writing such a book. What kind of readership does it aim for? It is no good, either for the specialist or the layperson. In fact, it is just a doctoral thesis dressed up as a book.

--------------------------------------------------------- Sukh Dev is a former chemistry teacher at the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi.

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