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Environ Toxicol Chem. 2004 Nov;23(11):2627-32.

Degradation of metolachlor in bare and vegetated soils and in simulated water-sediment systems.

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  • 1Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia 23806, USA.


A study was conducted to determine the half-life (t1/2), degradation rate, and metabolites of metolachlor in a water-sediment system and in soil with and without switchgrass. Metolachlor degradation in a laboratory was determined in sediment from Bojac sandy loam soil incubated at 24 degrees C. The study also was conducted in a greenhouse on tilted beds filled with Bojac soil and planted with switchgrass. In both experiments, samples were collected at days 0, 7, 14, 28, 42, 56, and 112 and analyzed for metolachlor and its major metabolites. The water-sediment oxidation-reduction potential took 28 d to reach -371 mV and the pH increased from 5.6 to 6.5 by the last sampling day (day 112). The average soil temperature of the tilted beds with or without switchgrass during the study was 21degrees C and the soil moisture content was 23% by volume. The t1/2 of metolachlor was 34 d in sediment and 8 d in the water phase. The t1/2 of metolachlor in soil from the switchgrass filter strip (6 d) was not different from that in soil without grass (9.6 d). The metolachlor metabolites ethanesulfonic acid (ESA) and oxanilic acid (OA) were detected in the water-sediment system and in soil from tilted beds. In both sediment and soil from tilted beds, the two metabolites peaked by day 56 of incubation and declined after that, indicating transformation to other products. In the water-sediment system, greater quantities of OA and ESA were detected in sediment than in the aqueous phase. The production of OA and ESA in the watersediment system occurred in the first 28 d, when the system was at an aerobic redox state. Metolachlor can degrade in sediment and the relatively high soil temperature and moisture level accelerated its breakdown in beds with and without switchgrass. Under warm and moist soil conditions, the presence of switchgrass has no effect on the degradation of metolachlor.

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