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J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Sep 8;52(18):5643-52.

Effect of different soil textures on leaching potential and degradation of pesticides in biobeds.

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  • 1Cranfield Centre for EcoChemistry, Shardlow Hall, Shardlow, Derby, United Kingdom DE72 2GN.


Biobeds can be used to intercept pesticide-contaminated runoff from the mixing/washdown area, creating optimum conditions for sorption and biodegradation such that the amount of pesticide reaching adjacent water bodies is significantly reduced. The biobed is built on the farm using locally available materials, which include, straw, compost, and topsoil. The topsoil acts as the inoculum for the system and is likely to vary in terms of its physical, chemical, and microbiological characteristics from one farm to another. This study therefore investigated the effects of using different soil types on the degradation and leaching potential from biobeds. Three contrasting topsoils were investigated. Leaching studies were performed using isoproturon, dimethoate, and mecoprop-P, which were applied at simulated disposal rates to 1.5 m deep biobeds. Annual average concentrations were similar for each soil type with leaching losses of even the most mobile (Koc = 12-25) pesticide <1.64% of the applied dose. Greater than 98% of the retained pesticides were degraded in all matrices. Degradation studies investigated the persistence of individual pesticides and pesticide mixtures in the different matrices. DT50 values for isoproturon, chlorothalonil, mecoprop-P, and metsulfuron-methyl applied at 4 times the maximum approved rate were similar across the biomix types and were all less than or equal to reported DT50 values for soil treated at approved rates. When applied as a mixture, DT50 values in each biomix increased, indicating that interactions between pesticides are possible. However, DT90 values of <167 days were obtained in all circumstances, indicating a negligible risk of accumulation. Studies therefore indicate that substrate will have little impact on biobed performance so it should be possible to use local soils in the construction process.

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