Hydrolysis of sulfonylurea herbicides in soils and aqueous solutions: a review

Ajit K Sarmah, Jean Sabadie
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2002 October 23, 50 (22): 6253-65
Sulfonylureas are a unique group of herbicides used for controlling a range of weeds and some grasses in a variety of crops and vegetables. They have been extremely popular worldwide because of their low mammalian toxicity, low use rate, and unprecedented herbicidal activity. Knowledge about the fate and behavior of sulfonylurea herbicides in the soil-water environment appears to be of utmost importance for agronomic systems and environmental protection. Because these herbicides are applied at a very low rate, and their mobility is greatly affected by the chemicals' anionic nature in alkaline soils, a thorough understanding of their degradation/hydrolysis processes and mechanisms under aqueous and soil systems is important. This review brings together published information on the hydrolysis of several sulfonylureas in aqueous and soil solutions that includes the effects of pH, temperature, functional relationship between pH vs hydrolysis rate constants, and hydrolysis behavior of sulfonylureas in the presence of minerals. In addition, the transformations of sulfonylureas in soil, under laboratory and field experiments, have been discussed in connection with the compounds' varied structural features, i.e., sulfonylueas that are with or without the pyridinic, pyrimidine, and triazinic ring.

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