Soil Depth and Temperature Effects on Microbial Degradation of 2,4-D
- R. H. Veeh *,
- W. P. Inskeep and
- A. K. Camper
Numerous soil factors and climatic conditions affect the degradation rate of pesticides in soils. A major soil factor influencing herbicide degradation is the composition and abundance of the microbiota, which has been shown to vary considerably with soil depth. Another important variable affecting microbial growth and degradation kinetics is temperature. Soil samples from 0- to 30-, 30- to 60-, and 60- to 120-cm depths of two Montana soils were placed in reaction flasks and treated with 14C-labeled 2,4-D at representative field use rates at temperatures of 10, 17, and 24°C. A carrier gas was used to continuously evacuate evolved 14CO2 into NaOH traps as a measure of 2,4-D degradation. Comparisons of the effects of soil depth and temperature were made by fitting experimental data to both first-order and logistic kinetic models. Degradation rates of 2,4-D decreased significantly with increasing soil depth and were positively correlated with bacterial plate counts. Effects of temperature on degradation rate constants were adequately described using the Arrhenius equation. Degradation rates of 2,4-D and bacterial enumerations were positively correlated with changes in soil organic C as a function of soil depth. These results support the idea that changes in organic C with soil depth could be used as a parameter for estimating changes in degradation rate as a function of soil depth. Efforts to model the transport of 2,4-D in soils should account for variation in degradation rate as a function of soil depth and temperature.
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