Influence of microorganisms and leaching on simazine attenuation in an agricultural soil

V Morgante, C Flores, X Fadic, M González, M Hernández, F Cereceda-Balic, M Seeger
Journal of Environmental Management 2012, 95: S300-5
Simazine is an s-triazine herbicide world widely used for the control of broadleaf weeds. The influence of leaching and microorganisms on simazine attenuation in an agricultural soil long-term treated with this herbicide was studied. To elucidate the leaching potential of simazine in this soil, undisturbed soil columns amended with simazine were placed in a specially designed system and an artificial precipitation was simulated. To evaluate the simazine removal by soil microorganisms, three soil microcosm sets were established: i) control soil; ii) soil subjected to gamma irradiation (γ-soil) and iii) γ-soil inoculated with the simazine-degrading bacterium Pseudomonas sp. strain MHP41. The simazine-degrading microorganisms in soil were estimated using an indicator for respiration combined with MPN enumeration. The simazine removal in soil was monitored by GC-ECD and HPLC. In this agricultural soil the leaching of the applied simazine was negligible. The gamma irradiation decreased in more than one order of magnitude the cultivable heterotrophic bacteria and reduced the simazine-degrading microorganisms. Simazine was almost completely depleted (97%) in control soil by natural attenuation after 23 d, whereas in γ-soil only 70% of simazine was removed. The addition of the simazine-degrading strain MHP41 to γ-soil restored and upheld high stable simazine catabolic microorganisms as well as increased the simazine removal (87%). The results indicated that simazine is subjected to microbial degradation with negligible leaching in this agricultural soil and pointed out the crucial role of native microbiota in the herbicide removal.

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