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J Agric Food Chem. 2007 May 30;55(11):4487-92. Epub 2007 May 9.

Factors influencing degradation of pesticides in soil.

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  • 1Central Science Laboratory, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1LZ, United Kingdom.


Degradation and sorption of six acidic pesticides (2,4-D, dicamba, fluroxypyr, fluazifop-P, metsulfuron-methyl, and flupyrsulfuron-methyl) and four basic pesticides (metribuzin, terbutryn, pirimicarb, and fenpropimorph) were determined in nine temperate soils. Results were submitted to statistical analyses against a wide range of soil and pesticide properties to (i) identify any commonalities in factors influencing rate of degradation and (ii) determine whether there was any link between sorption and degradation processes for the compounds and soils studied. There were some marked differences between the soils in their ability to degrade the different pesticides. The parameters selected to explain variations in degradation rates depended on the soil-pesticide combination. The lack of consistent behavior renders a global approach to prediction of degradation unrealistic. The soil organic carbon content generally had a positive influence on degradation. The relationship between pH and degradation rates depended on the dominant mode of degradation for each pesticide. There were positive relationships between sorption and rate of degradation for metsulfuron-methyl, pirimicarb, and all acidic pesticides considered together (all P < 0.001) and for dicamba and all bases considered together (P < 0.05). No relationship between these processes was observed for the remaining seven individual pesticides.

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