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Environ Pollut. 1989;60(3-4):291-304.

The effect of two applications of atrazine on the water quality of freshwater enclosures.

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  • 1Botany Division, National Museum of Natural Sciences, PO Box 3443, Station D, Ottawa, Canada K1P 6P4.


To simulate runoff from agricultural lands, atrazine was applied to aquatic enclosures (112 m(3)) on 1 June 1983 at a concentration of 0.1 mg litre(-1). Thirty-five days later the nominal concentration was increased to 0.155 mg litre(-1). Treated enclosures became clearer with Secchi disc readings of 3.6 m compared to non-treated controls (2.9 m). Less than 5% of the first atrazine addition disappeared during the first 35 days and little effect on biological activity was observed. However, with the second enrichment the rate of loss of atrazine was rapid (t(1/2) = 150 days), ammonium, calcium, dissolved inorganic carbon and nitrate levels were higher, while oxygen, chlorophyll, dissolved organic carbon and particulate organic carbon concentrations were lower in the treated enclosures. These water quality changes cannot be explained by herbicide-water chemistry interactions alone, thereby suggesting an indirect effect as a consequence of atrazine inhibition on photosynthesis and possibly other microbial processes.

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