Journal of contaminant hydrology

Degradation of the herbicide dichlobenil and its metabolite BAM in soils and subsurface sediments.

PMID 17116344


The worldwide used herbicide dichlobenil (2,6-dichlorobenzonitrile) has resulted in widespread presence of its metabolite 2,6-dichlorobenzamide (BAM) in surface water and groundwater. To evaluate the potential for natural attenuation of this BAM pollution in groundwater, we studied the degradation of BAM and dichlobenil in 16 samples of clayey till, unconsolidated sand and limestone, including sediments from both oxidized and reduced conditions. The degradation of dichlobenil occurred primarily in the upper few meters below surface, although dichlobenil was strongly sorbed to these sediments. However, the degradation of dichlobenil to BAM could not be correlated to either sorption, water chemistry, composition of soils or sediments. Degradation of dichlobenil to BAM was limited (<2% degraded) in the deeper unsaturated zones, and no degradation was observed in aquifer sediments. This illustrates, that dichlobenil transported to aquifers does not contribute to the BAM-contamination in aquifers. A small, but significant degradation of BAM was observed in the upper part of the unsaturated zones in sandy sediments, but no degradation was observed in the clayey till sediment or in the deeper unsaturated zones. The insignificant degradation of BAM in aquifer systems shows that BAM pollution detected in aquifers will appear for a long time; and consequently the potential for natural attenuation of BAM in aquifer systems is limited.

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2,6-Dichlorobenzamide, PESTANAL®, analytical standard