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Effect of prairie grass on the dissipation, movement, and bioavailability of selected herbicides in prepared soil columns

Effect of prairie grass on the dissipation, movement, and bioavailability of selected herbicides in prepared soil columns

Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 23(1): 125-132

ISSN/ISBN: 0730-7268

PMID: 14768876

DOI: 10.1897/02-513

Phytoremediation of pesticide-contaminated sites using a prairie grass mixture (big bluestem, yellow indiangrass, and switch grass) has been suggested as a low-cost in situ remediation strategy. In this study, the proposed phytoremediation technique was applied to artificially prepared soil columns that were fortified with high concentrations of four herbicides (atrazine, alachlor, metolachlor, and pendimethalin). The fate and toxicity of the herbicides were compared with results from soil columns lacking vegetation. After either 150 or 240 d of phytoremediation, soils were watered with 7.5 cm of water, and leachate was collected. Columns were then divided into three sections (top, middle, bottom). For each section of the column, chemical analysis (ethyl acetate and water extractions), earthworm accumulation tests, and lettuce seedling growth tests were performed. The leachate was chemically analyzed and tested for chronic toxicity to algae. Atrazine and alachlor degraded rapidly in the column, and the total amount recoverable was less than 2% of applied. After 250 d, vegetation reduced the total recoverable amounts of metolachlor and pendimethalin by 78 and 39%, respectively. Metolachlor was the only compound found in leachate, and the amounts recovered were reduced 5- to 20-fold by vegetation. Vegetation decreased the bioavailability of pendimethalin as measured by 8-d, earthworm bioaccumulation factors (BAFs) and lettuce seedling growth assays. Decreases in mobility and bioavailability indicate that this technique may stabilize pesticide residues in addition to increasing dissipation rates.

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Accession: 004125772

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