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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 5, p. 1636-1648
    Received: July 9, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): volker.laabs@covance.com
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Pesticides in Surface Water, Sediment, and Rainfall of the Northeastern Pantanal Basin, Brazil

  1. Volker Laabs *ad,
  2. Wulf Amelunga,
  3. Alicio A. Pintob,
  4. Matthias Wantzenc,
  5. Carolina J. da Silvab and
  6. Wolfgang Zecha
  1. a Institute of Soil Science and Soil Geography, University of Bayreuth, D-95440 Bayreuth, Germany
    d Covance Laboratories GmbH, Kesselfeld 29, 48163 Münster, Germany
    b Projeto Ecologia do Gran Pantanal, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso, 78090-000 Cuiabá, MT, Brazil
    c Max-Planck Institute of Limnology, Tropical Ecology Working Group, D-24302 Plön, Germany


Within the last 25 years an intensive agriculture has developed in the highland regions of Mato Grosso state (Brazil), which involves frequent pesticide use in highly mechanized cash-crop cultures. To provide information on pesticide distribution and dynamics in the northeastern Pantanal basin (located in southern Mato Grosso), we monitored 29 pesticides and 3 metabolites in surface water, sediment, and rainwater of the study area during the main application season. In environmental samples, 19 pesticides and 3 metabolites were detected in measurable quantities, resulting in at least one pesticide detection in 68% of surface water samples (n = 139), 62% of sediment samples (n = 26), and 87% of rainwater samples (n = 91). Surface water samples were most frequently contaminated by endosulfan compounds (α-, β-, -sulfate), ametryn, metolachlor, and metribuzin, although in low (<0.1 μg L−1) concentrations. Sediment samples exhibited concentrations up to 4.5 μg kg−1 of p,p′-DDT, p,p′-DDE, endosulfan-sulfate, β-endosulfan, and ametryn. In contrast, rainwater was polluted with substantial amounts of endosulfan, alachlor, metolachlor, trifluralin, monocrotofos, and profenofos (maximum concentrations = 0.3 to 2.3 μg L−1) in the highlands. Lowland rainwater samples taken 75 km from the next application area contained 5- to 10-fold lower mean pesticide concentration than in the highlands. Cumulative deposition rates of the pesticide sum within the study period ranged from 423 μg m−2 in the highlands to 14 μg m−2 in the lowlands. The atmospheric input of pesticides to ecosystems seemed to be of higher relevance in the tropical study area than known from temperate regions.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:1636–1648.