Enhanced atrazine degradation is widespread across the United States

Thomas C. Mueller, Ethan T. Parker, Larry Steckel, Sharon A. Clay, Micheal D.K. Owen, William S. Curran, Randall Currie, Robert Scott, Christy Sprague, Daniel O. Stephenson, Donnie K. Miller, Eric P. Prostko, W. James Grichar, James Martin, L. Jason Kruz, Kevin Bradley, Mark L. Bernards, Peter Dotray, Stevan Knezevic, Vince DavisRobert Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Atrazine (ATZ) has been a key herbicide for annual weed control in corn, with both a soil and post-emergence vegetation application period. Although enhanced ATZ degradation in soil with a history of ATZ use has been reported, the extent and rate of degradation in the US Corn Belt is uncertain. We show that enhanced ATZ degradation exists across much of the country. RESULTS: Soils from 15 of 16 surveyed states had enhanced ATZ degradation. The average ATZ half-life was only 2.3 days in ATZ history soils, compared with an average 14.5 days in soils with no previous ATZ use, meaning that ATZ degrades an average 6 times faster in soils with previous ATZ use. CONCLUSION: When ATZ is used for several years, enhanced degradation will undoubtedly change the way ATZ is used in agronomic crops and also its ultimate environmental fate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1953-1961
Number of pages9
JournalPest Management Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • atrazine
  • enhanced degradation
  • environmental fate


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