Mobility and Degradation of Pesticides and Their Degradates in Intact Soil Columns

Ellen L. Arthur, Patricia J. Rice, Pamela J. Rice, Todd A. Anderson, Joel R. Coats

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Laboratory studies were conducted to determine the mobility of parent pesticides and degradation products through the use of large undisturbed soil columns. The influence of vegetation on the mobility of pesticide adjuvants was also investigated. Modifications to the laboratory setup of soil columns for studying various pesticides, degradation products, and adjuvants were done to fit the needs of the particular compound being studied. To improve mass balances of volatile parent compounds, such as methyl bromide, as well as biodegradable (mineralizable) pesticide degradation products such as deethylatrazine, modifications of columns to accommodate isolation of volatile degradation products were accomplished by enclosure of the column head space and use of flow-through systems. Evidence of preferential flow of atrazine, deethylatrazine, metolachlor, and methyl bromide were indicated by the presence of either the 14C-compound or Br (in the case of methyl bromide-applied soil columns) after the first leaching event. Diffusion through the soil matrix was also evident with a peak of 14C in the leachate several weeks after pesticide (or degradate) application to the soil column. Deethylatrazine, a major degradate of atrazine, was more mobile than the parent compound. Vegetation had a significant positive effect on reducing the mobility of the adjuvants propylene glycol and ethylene glycol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-114
Number of pages27
JournalACS Symposium Series
StatePublished - 1998


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