| Dr. Robert M. Zablotowicz|
Crop Production Systems Research Unit
141 Experiment Station Road
PO Box 350
Stoneville, MS 38776
Dr. Bob Zablotowicz's program in environmental microbiology focuses on the effects of agricultural management practices on the ecology and physiology of soil microorganisms and the role of microrganisms on the degradation of pesticides. The fate of herbicides such as aciflourfen, alachlor, atrazine, bentazon, cyanazine, fenoxaprop-ethyl, fluometuron, metolachlor and propanil in soil has been studied using radiological assays. Specific biochemical processes involved in the transformations of herbicides are studied and the dominant microbial groups that participate in these transformations are identified.
The effects of conservation management approaches such as reduced tillage and cover crops on soil quality and the fate of herbicides have been studied. These practices enhance microbial populations and activities that correspond with organic matter accumulation in surface soils, and may affect the fate of pesticides by stimulation of co-metabolic microbial processes or reducing the herbicide's bioavailability for degradation.
Dr. Zablotowicz participated in the Mississippi Delta Management System Evaluation Area (MSEA) project; in this project he investigated the impact of Best Management Practices (BMP's) on the microbial ecology of Delta oxbow lakes, the metabolism of herbicides by algae and aquatic bacteria, and patterns of herbicide occurance in lake water.
As glyphosate-resistant cropping systems dominate Mid South agriculture, Dr. Zablotowicz has been assessing the risks associated with glyphosate exposure on nitrogen fixation in soybean and indirect effects on soil and rhizosphere microflora.