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Environ Sci Technol. 2007 Jun 1;41(11):4084-9.

Mass balance of metolachlor in a grassed phytoremediation system.

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  • 1Department of Entomology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA.


Metolachlor is a point-source pollutant at agrochemical dealerships in the Midwest, as well as a non point-source contaminant of surface waters caused by runoff. Prairie grasses have been used in filter strips to control runoff and are also useful for phytoremediation; however, little is known about the fate of metolachlor and its metabolites within a grassed system. Effects of uptake by prairie grasses on the formation and fate of degradation products are not known. In this study, [U-ring-14C]metolachlor was added to enclosed systems to determine the fate of the parent compound and its metabolites in soil and plants. Mineralization and volatilization were monitored over the 97 day study and found to be 1.05 and 0.2%, respectively, for vegetated systems. At the end of the study, soil and plant material was evaluated for the presence of parent metolachlor and selected metabolites, as well as bound residues. Metolachlor ethane sulfonic acid was the dominant metabolite in soil and plant tissue. Over 7% of applied radioactivity was taken up by the grasses, and plant uptake/metabolism appeared to be the main mechanism for phytoremediation of metolachlor. Vegetation significantly reduced the amount of metolachlor in soil by 9%, indicating potential success as a remediation tool.

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