Environmental science and pollution research international

Effects of copper fungicide residues on the microbial function of vineyard soils.

PMID 22890509


The use of copper-based fungicides leads to an accumulation of copper (Cu) in vineyard soils, potentially causing adverse effects to the microbial function and fertility of the soil. This study used a soil microcosm approach to assess the effects of Cu accumulation on microbial function in vineyard soils. Surface soil samples were collected from 10 vineyards and a number of un-impacted reference sites in each of three different viticultural regions of Australia. The field-collected soils were transferred to microcosms and maintained for up to 93 days in the laboratory at 20-22 °C and 60 % of their maximum water-holding capacity. The microbial function of the soils was indicated by measuring phosphomonoesterase, arylsulfatase, urease, and phenol oxidase activities. In general, the vineyard soils had greater concentrations of Cu and lower enzyme activities than in the reference soils, although a weak negative relationship between Cu and enzyme activity could only be found for phosphomonoesterase activity. The results show that soil physical-chemical properties (i.e., organic carbon, pH) are greater determinants of soil enzyme activity than increased soil Cu concentration at the Cu concentrations present in vineyard soils.