Atrazine Adsorption by Soil Colloids and Co-Transport through Subsurface Environments
- A. K. Seta and
- A. D. Karathanasis
This study evaluated the potential of water-dispersible soil colloids with diverse physicochemical and mineralogical characteristics to adsorb and mediate the transport of atrazine through macropores of intact soil columns. The soil columns were taken from the upper solum of an Alfisol (Maury) and a Mollisol (Loradale) in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky. Six different colloid suspensions mixed with atrazine [2-chloro-4-(ethylamino)-6-(isopropylamino)-s-triazine] were introduced at a constant flux into the undisturbed soil columns. The eluents were collected and analyzed periodically for colloid and herbicide concentrations. Colloid recovery in the eluents ranged from 45 to 90%. The presence of colloids enhanced the transport of atrazine by 2 to 18%, depending on colloid type and mobility. Colloids with higher pH, total exchangeable bases (TEB), cation-exchange capacity (CEC), organic carbon (OC), surface area (SA), and electrophoretic mobility (EM), showed greater mobility, greater affinity for atrazine, and greater potential to co-transport atrazine. In contrast, increased levels of kaolinite, Fe, and Al inhibited atrazine adsorption and transport. Soil columns with higher hydraulic conductivity, well-developed macropore system, and lower surface reactivity (Maury) also transported more atrazine. In spite of the increased transportability of atrazine by the presence of soil colloids, the colloid-bound herbicide fraction contributed ≤1% to the observed increase. This suggests that matrix-surface-site exclusion and blocking mechanisms induced by the presence of colloids are more important than colloid sorption in promoting atrazine mobility in subsurface soil environments.
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