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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 30 No. 5, p. 1836-1843
    Received: July 5, 2000

    * Corresponding author(s): mmeyer@usgs.gov
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Differentiating Nonpoint Sources of Deisopropylatrazine in Surface Water Using Discrimination Diagrams

  1. M. T. Meyer *a,
  2. E. M. Thurmanb and
  3. D. A. Goolsbyc
  1. a U.S. Geological Survey, 4500 SW 40th Ave., Ocala, FL 34474
    b U.S. Geological Survey, 4821 Quail Crest Place, Lawrence, KS 66049
    c U.S. Geological Survey, Box 25046, Denver Federal Center, MS 406, Denver, CO 80225


Pesticide degradates account for a significant portion of the pesticide load in surface water. Because pesticides with similar structures may degrade to the same degradate, it is important to distinguish between different sources of parent compounds that have different regulatory and environmental implications. A discrimination diagram, which is a sample plot of chemical data that differentiates between different parent compounds, was used for the first time to distinguish whether sources other than atrazine (6-chloro-N 2-ethyl-N 4-isopropyl-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine) contributed the chlorinated degradate, deisopropylatrazine (DIA; 6-chloro-N-ethyl-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine) to the Iroquois and Delaware Rivers. The concentration ratio of deisopropylatrazine to deethylatrazine [6-chloro-N-(1-methylethyl)-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine], called the D2R, was used to discriminate atrazine as a source of DIA from other parent sources, such as cyanazine (2-[[4-chloro-6-(ethylamino)-1,3,5-triazin-2-yl]amino]-2-methylpropionitrile) and simazine (6-chloro-N,N′-diethyl-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine). The ratio of atrazine to cyanazine (ACR) used in conjunction with the D2R showed that after atrazine, cyanazine was the main contributor of DIA in surface water. The D2R also showed that cyanazine, and to a much lesser extent simazine, contributed a considerable amount (∼40%) of the DIA that was transported during the flood of the Mississippi River in 1993. The D2R may continue to be a useful discriminator in determining changes in the nonpoint sources of DIA in surface water as cyanazine is currently being removed from the market.

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Copyright © 2001. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.30:1836–1843.