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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Biological Treatment of Manure and Organic Residuals to Capture Nutrients and Transform Contaminants

Location: Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory

Title: Using chiral identification of metolachlor ethane sulfonic acid as a groundwater dating tool

item Rice, Clifford
item Bialek Kalinski, Krystyna
item McCarty, Gregory

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 12, 2013
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: We have studied the hydrologic fate of metolachlor and its two predominant metabolites, metolachlor ethane sulfonic acid (MESA) and metolachlor oxanilic acid, in groundwater and base flows of streams for several years. These two metabolites are excellent markers for groundwater processes related to agriculture and they appear to have extended retention in aquifers. Chiral separations were carried out on selected archived samples from a specific site extending from 2000 to 2005. Enantiomeric excess values for the S and R racemic forms show a clear signal for increasing levels of the S-enriched form of MESA over this time interval. This shift in chiral abundance agrees with the change in usage patterns for metolachlor; the S-enriched form was introduced in 1997, replacing the less effective racemic product used prior to that date. Hydrologic dating with this very specific agricultural marker appears to be a promising application for this information.

Last Modified: 10/31/2014
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