Adsorption isotherms of prosulfocarb were determined on soils with different physicochemical properties. The extent of adsorption increased with the organic carbon content, but the results also suggested the involvement of some inorganic soil surfaces. In order better to understand the role of each soil surface, adsorption-desorption isotherms were determined on model soil colloids consisting of a soil humic acid, a montmorillonite, a synthetic aluminium hydroxide and their associations. The highest adsorption was observed on the humic acid, but it was also confirmed that the montmorillonite interacted with prosulfocarb. In contrast, the aluminium hydroxide was not active and its association with montmorillonite provoked a decrease in adsorption compared with montmorillonite alone. Except for humic acid, the highest adsorption took place on the ternary association montmorillonite-aluminium hydroxide-humic acid. On each surface tested, the adsorption was largely reversible and decreased at increasing pH. The herbicidal activity of prosulfocarb was tested by the determination of the germination and growth of a typical weed, Lolium multiflorum Lam, in contact with prosulfocarb solutions at different concentrations. The herbicide did not prevent the germination of the seeds but inhibited the growth of the roots and leaves. The same test was performed in the presence of the ternary system to evaluate the influence of adsorption on the plant bioavailability. It was concluded that the presence of an adsorptive surface reduced the herbicidal activity and that the simple bioassay proposed could be useful in predicting the extent of adsorption in a given soil.