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Chemosphere. 2008 Aug;72(11):1739-43. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2008.04.065. Epub 2008 Jun 11.

The effect of initial concentration, co-application and repeated applications on pesticide degradation in a biobed mixture.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze Ambientali e delle Produzioni Vegetali, Universit√† Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce Bianche, 60131 Ancona, Italy.


A 180 d laboratory experiment was conducted to investigate the degradation rates of chlorpyrifos (10 and 50 mg kg(-1)) and metalaxyl (100 mg kg(-1)) separately and co-applied in a biomix constituted by topsoil, vine-branches and urban-waste-garden compost. The effect of repeated application of metalaxyl was also investigated. Microbial biomass-C (MBC) content and metabolic quotient (qCO(2)) were measured to evaluate changes in microbial biomass size and activity induced by the presence of the two pesticides. Degradation rate decreased with increasing concentration of chlorpyrifos in all treatments. Metalaxyl half-life was significantly reduced in co-application with chlorpyrifos indicating a synergic interaction between the two pesticides in favour of enhanced degradation rate for metalaxyl but not for chlorpyrifos. Furthermore, repeated application resulted in a sharp reduction of metalaxyl half-life from 37 d after first application to 4 d after third application. MBC content was negatively influenced by the addition of pesticides but it started to recover immediately, in both separate and co-applied treatments, reaching the control value when pesticide residues were about 50% of the initial concentration. The qCO(2) reached a steady-state after about 20 d in separately applied and 40 d in co-applied treatments, indicating a tendency to arrive at a new metabolic equilibrium. In conclusion, the biomix tested has been shown to degrade pesticides relatively fast and to have a microbial community that is varied enough to allow selection of those microorganisms able to degrade metalaxyl and chlorpyrifos.

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