A field study to assess the degradation and transport of diuron and its metabolites in a calcareous soil

Gooddy, Daren; Chilton, John; Harrison, Ian. 2002 A field study to assess the degradation and transport of diuron and its metabolites in a calcareous soil. Science of the Total Environment, 297 (1-3). 67-83.

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An experimental plot has been established on a calcareous soil in southern England to investigate the fate and transport of diuron (N'-[3,4-dichlorophenyl]-NN-dimethylurea), a commonly used phenylurea herbicide. An agricultural grade of diuron was applied to the soil surface at a rate of 6.7 kg/ha along with a potassium bromide conservative tracer applied at 200 kg/ha, in early January, 2001. Hand augured samples were taken at regular intervals over the next 50 days, with samples collected down to 54 cm. Porewaters were extracted from the soil cores by using high speed centrifugation and the supernatant fluids were retained for analysis by HPLC, for diuron and three of its metabolites, N'-[3,4-dichlorophenyl]-N,N-methylurea (DCPMU), N'-3,4-dichlorophenylurea (DCPU) and 3,4-dichloroaniline (DCA). The centrifuged soil was retained and then extracted with methanol prior to HPLC analysis for the same suite of phenylureas. A mass balance approach showed large variations in diuron distribution, but on average accounted for 104% of the diuron applied. Concentrations of diuron and its metabolites were roughly five times higher in the soil than in the soil porewaters. After 50 days, metabolites comprised 10% of the total diuron present in the porewater and 20% of the total diuron sorbed to the soil matrix. After 36 days, a large pulse of diuron and DCPMU appeared in the porewaters and soil matrix at a depth of 54 cm, travelling an average of 0.15 cm/day faster than Br. A preferential route for diuron transport is suggested. There is evidence to suggest that degradation occurs at depth as well as at the soil surface. Metabolites generally appear to move more slowly than the parent compound. All metabolites were encountered, but interpreting transport and degradation processes simultaneously proved beyond the scope of the study. Diuron was detected once in a shallow (5 m) observation well, situated on the experimental plot. High concentrations of diuron and metabolites were still present in the soil and soil solutions after 50 days and remain as a source of potential groundwater contamination

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Groundwater Management
ISSN: 0048-9697
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, Pesticide pollution
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Related URLs:
Date made live: 23 Jul 2009 10:06 +0 (UTC)

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