Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MAINTAINING SOIL RESOURCES FOR EFFECTIVE CONSERVATION AND HERBICIDE MANAGEMENT IN MID-SOUTH CROP PRODUCTION

Location: Crop Production Systems Research Unit

Title: Atrazine dissipation in s-Triazine-adapted and Non-adapted soil from Coloroado and Mississippi: Implications of enhanced degradation on atrazine fate and transport parameters

Authors
item Krutz, Larry
item Shaner, Dale
item Accinelli, Cesare - UNIV OF BOLOGNA, ITALY
item Zablotowicz, Robert
item Henry, William

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 15, 2007
Publication Date: May 28, 2008
Citation: Krutz, L.J., Shaner, D.L., Accinelli, C., Zablotowicz, R.M., Henry, W.B. 2008. Atrazine dissipation in s-Triazine-adapted and Non-adapted soil from Coloroado and Mississippi: Implications of enhanced degradation on atrazine fate and transport parameters. Journal of Environmental Quality 37:848-857.

Interpretive Summary: Appropriate estimates of atrazine persistence in soil are required for transport and risk assessment models to accurately predict the herbicides movement in the environment. Microbiological and environmental factors affecting atrazine persistence were evaluated in the laboratory on soil collected from Colorado (CO) and Mississippi (MS). Atrazine persistence in CO and MS soil with an atrazine exposure history was 18-fold lower than USEPA’s estimate of 3 to 4 months, and rapid atrazine degradation was associated with bacterial genes coding for enzymes able to degrade the herbicide. Environmental and agronomic implications of this study include 1) bacterial genes coding for enzymes able to rapidly degrade atrazine are likely widespread across the Western and Southern corn growing regions of the United States; 2) fate, transport, and risk assessment models that use historic atrazine persistence estimates as default input parameters will likely over-predict the herbicide’s transport in soils with an atrazine exposure history, and 3) soils positive for bacterial genes that code for enzymes able to rapidly degrade atrazine will likely be able to rapidly degrade all commercially available triazine herbicides potentially resulting in a loss of residual weed control with these compounds.

Technical Abstract: Modelers and regulatory agencies typically use default atrazine half-life values of 60 to 120 d to predict the herbicide’s transport; however, if atrazine persistence is reduced in soils exhibiting enhanced degradation, but modelers continue to use historic atrazine persistence estimates, then accurate prediction of atrazine transport in adapted soils, i.e. soils exhibiting enhanced degradation, is unlikely. The objectives of this study were to 1) screen Colorado (CO) and Mississippi (MS) atrazine-adapted and non-adapted soil for atzABC genes; 2) compare Q10 and ' between adapted and non-adapted soils; and 3) compare metabolite profiles between adapted and non-adapted soils. The atzABC and (or) trzN genes were detected only in adapted soils. Atrazine’s average half life in adapted soil was 10-fold lower than that of non-adapted soil and 18-fold lower than USEPA’s estimate of 3 to 4 months. There is a 90% probability that Q10 is greater in adapted than non-adapted soil, and concentrations of mono-N-dealkylated metabolites of atrazine were rarely above the limit of detection in adapted soils. Environmental and agronomic implications of this study include 1) enhanced atrazine degradation and atzABC and (or) trzN genes are likely widespread across the Western and Southern corn growing regions of the United States; 2) due to the substrate specificity of the enzymes coded by atzABC and (or) trzN, concentrations of mono-N-dealkylated metabolites of atrazine will likely be lower in adapted than non adapted soil; 3) fate, transport, and risk assessment models that use historic atrazine persistence estimates as default input parameters will likely over-predict the herbicide’s transport in adapted soils, and 4) soils positive for atzA and (or) trzN will likely be cross-adapted with all commercially available triazine herbicides potentially resulting in a loss of residual weed control.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page