Adsorption of glyphosate on variable-charge, volcanic ash–derived soils

Glyphosate (N-phosphonometylglycine) is widely used due to its broad spectrum of activity and nonselective mode of action. In Chile it is the most used herbicide, but its adsorption behavior in the abundant and widespread variable charge soils is not well understood. In this study, three volcanic ash–derived soils were selected, including Andisols (Nueva Braunau and Diguillin) and Ultisols (Collipulli), to evaluate the adsorption kinetics, equilibrium isotherms, and the effect of pH in glyphosate adsorption. The influence of glyphosate on soil phosphorus retention was also studied. Glyphosate was rapidly and strongly adsorbed on the selected soils, and adsorption isotherms were well described by the Freundlich relationship with strong nonlinearity (nfads < 0.5). The nfads values were consistently higher than nfdes values, suggesting strong hysteresis. Adsorption (Kads) increased strongly when pH decreased. The presence of glyphosate (3200 µg mL–1) changed the adsorption behavior of phosphate at its maximum adsorption capacity. Andisol soils without the addition of glyphosate had similar mean Kads values for Nueva Braunau (5.68) and Diguillin (7.38). Collipulli had a mean Kads value of 31.58. During the successive desorption steps, glyphosate at the highest level increased Kads values for phosphate in the Andisol soils but had little effect in the Ultisol soil. This different behavior was probably due to the irreversible occupation of some adsorption sites by glyphosate in the Ultisol soil attributed to the dominant Kaolinite mineral. Results from this study suggest that in the two types of volcanic soils, different mechanisms are involved in glyphosate and phosphate adsorption and that long-term use of glyphosate may impose different effects on the retention and availability of phosphorus. Volcanic ash–derived soils have a particular environmental behavior in relation to the retention of organic contaminants, representing an environmental substrate that may become highly polluted over time due to intensive agronomic uses.

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