Glyphosate adsorption in soils compared to herbicides replaced with the introduction of glyphosate resistant crops.

PMID 15951002


Use of glyphosate resistant crops was helpful in addressing observed increases in environmental contamination by herbicides. Glyphosate is a broad-spectrum herbicide, and its behaviour-as well as that of other herbicides-in soils is an important consideration for the overall environmental evaluation of genetically resistant crop introduction. However, few data have been published comparing glyphosate behaviour in soil to that of the herbicides that would be replaced by introduction of glyphosate resistant crops. This work compares glyphosate adsorption in soil with that of other herbicides frequently used in rape (trifluralin and metazachlor), sugarbeet (metamitron) and corn (sulcotrione). Herbicide adsorption was characterised in surface soils and in the complete soils profiles through kinetics and isotherms using batch equilibration methods. Pedological and molecular structure factors controlling the adsorption of all five herbicides were investigated. Glyphosate was the most strongly adsorbed herbicide, thus having the weakest potential for mobility in soils. Glyphosate adsorption was dependent on its ionisable structure in relation to soil pH, and on soil copper, amorphous iron and phosphate content. Trifluralin adsorption was almost equivalent to glyphosate adsorption, whereas metazachlor, metamitron and sulcotrione adsorption were lower. Trifluralin, metazachlor and metamitron adsorption increased with soil organic carbon content. Sulcotrione was the least adsorbed herbicide in alkaline soils, but its adsorption increased when pH decreased. Ranking the adsorption properties among the five herbicides, glyphosate and trifluralin have the lowest availability and mobility in soils, but the former has the broadest spectrum for weed control.