Influence of different organic amendments on the leaching and dissipation of Terbuthylazine in a column and a field study

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Received for publication April 9, 2008. Terbuthylazine (TA) is a herbicide that has been introduced for weed control in corn cultivations as a direct replacement for atrazine. Because incorporation of different organic amendments (OAs) is a common practice in this crop, this study investigated the effects of different OAs, including urban sewage sludge, poultry compost, and corn straw on the dissipation and metabolism of TA. A column study and a field dissipation study were used. In the column study, no residues of TA and desethyl-terbuthylazine (DETA) were detected in the leachate of amended and non-amended columns. The addition of OAs increased the persistence of TA and DETA in the upper soil layers (0–10 cm) but did not affect the mobility of TA and DETA in either experiment. Although the presence of OAs led to a significant increase in DETA production in the upper soil layers, the presence of DETA in lower depths did not significantly differ with the non-amended soil in either experiment. A gradual accumulation of DETA was evident in the soil layers amended with corn straw, whereas a rapid formation of DETA and a gradual decline thereafter was observed in the other treatments. Overall, the addition of OAs did not appear to significantly influence the mobility of TA and DETA, which did not move below the top 30 cm, thus indicating low risk for ground water contamination. In addition, the dissipation rate of TA in the field was faster than that in the column study.

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