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Agricultural & Environmental Letters Abstract - Commentary

MSMA: Knowledge Gaps to Aid Appropriate Regulation of an Efficacious Herbicide


This article in AEL

  1. Vol. 1 No. 1 160025
    unlockOPEN ACCESS
    Received: July 21, 2016
    Accepted: Sept 19, 2016
    Published: October 6, 2016

    * Corresponding author(s): travis_gannon@ncsu.edu
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  1. Travis W. Gannon *a and
  2. Matthew L. Polizzottoa
  1. a Dep. of Crop and Soil Sciences, North Carolina State Univ., 101 Derieux St., Campus Box 7620, Raleigh, NC 27695
Core Ideas:
  • MSMA is an arsenic-based herbicide currently registered in cotton and turfgrass.
  • Will continued MSMA use threaten human and environmental health?
  • Discrepancies about environmental fate exist among field and laboratory research.
  • Factors that influence As species transformation should be further elucidated.
  • Management plans should be devised where MSMA is used.


Monosodium methyl arsenate (MSMA) is an efficacious postemergence herbicide commonly used in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) and turfgrass systems. Concerns have arisen about potential adverse effects of MSMA-derived arsenic on human and environmental health. The USEPA enacted a phase-out of MSMA and other organic arsenical pesticides in 2006, although subsequent agreements allow for its continued use until a review is complete in 2019. Additional research is needed to further characterize MSMA environmental fate and species transformation kinetics in cotton and turfgrass systems of varying edaphic conditions, as there are current knowledge gaps and discrepancies in previous reports. Improved understanding of MSMA environmental fate under real-case conditions will allow regulatory agencies to devise appropriate regulations and management plans to ensure environmental and human health are protected.

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Copyright © 2016. Copyright © 2016 by the American Society of Agronomy, Inc.