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Content archived on 2024-04-19

Herbicide degradation in the subsurface and aquifer environment in northern and southern Europe


To establish the potential for chemical and biological degradation of selected herbicides in the unsaturated and saturated zone of unconfined aquifers and to establish the effect of environmental variables on rates of herbicide degradation.

The project consists of a common "core" experiment and a number of satellite experiments carried out by one or more partners only.
1. The "core" experiment deals with the degradation of atrazine in soil samples from two boreholes in each of the participating countries. Samples are being obtained by a dry percussion coring technique. Sampling sites are in regions of heavy herbicide use, with the water table within 20m of the soil surface. Both biotic and abiotic degradation are being evaluated in different laboratories to assure comparability.
2. The following satellite experiments on atrazine and on some additonal pesticides will be carried out:

(i) Total counts of bacteria.
(ii) Collection of groundwater and porewater and analysis for herbicides and anions.
(iii) Degradation studies at low (ppb) herbicide concentrations using radio-labelled herbicides.
(iv) Investigation of the role of co-metabolism and adaptation and studies on abiotic degradation.
(v) Detailed characterization of the temperature response of herbicide degradation.
(vi) Isolation of pure cultures of pesticide degrading bacteria.

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EU contribution
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London Road
United Kingdom

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Participants (4)