Environmental monitoring and assessment

Factors affecting metribuzin retention in Algerian soils and assessment of the risks of contamination.

PMID 22930189


Metribuzin is a widely used herbicide around the world but it could lead to soil and water contamination. Metribuzin retention on a silty-clay agricultural soil of Algeria was studied in laboratory batch experiments to assess the contamination risk of the groundwater. Factors conditioning the fate of metribuzin were investigated: soil nature, metribuzin formulation, NPK fertilizer, and soil pH. Freundlich sorption isotherms gave the coefficients K F between 1.2 and 4.9 and 1/n a between 0.52 and 0.93. The adsorption is directly dependent on organic and clay soil contents. Formulated metribuzin (Metriphar) reduces the adsorption (K F = 1.25) compared to pure metribuzin (K F = 2.81). The addition of an NPK fertilizer decreases the soil pH (6.67 for the soil without fertilizer and 5.86 for 2 % of fertilizer) and increases metribuzin adsorption (K F is 4.83 for 2 % of fertilizer). The pH effect on the adsorption is corroborated in experiments changing the soil pH between 5 (K F is 4.17) and 8 (K F is 1.57) under controlled conditions. Desorption isotherms show a hysteresis and only 30 to 40 % of the initially adsorbed metribuzin is released. The estimated GUS index is ≥ 2.8 for a DT50 ≥ 30 days. K F values and the hysteresis show that metribuzin is little but strongly retained on the soil. Formulated metribuzin and addition of fertilizer affect the retention. However, the GUS index indicates a high mobility and a significant risk of leaching. The most appropriate risk management measure would be an important increase in organic matter content of the soil by addition of organic amendments.

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Metribuzin, PESTANAL®, analytical standard