Deactivation of the biological activity of paraquat in the soil environment: a review of long-term environmental fate. by Roberts TR, Dyson JS, Lane MC.
In their paper Deactivation of the biological activity of paraquat in the soil environment: a review of long-term environmental fate,” the authors bring together several key environment studies on paraquat in order to analyze and assess its long-term environmental impact. They conclude that:
“These trials have demonstrated that the continued use of paraquat under GAP
Refers to the package of recommendations and available knowledge to address environmental, economic, and social sustainability for on-farm production and post-production processes resulting in safe and healthy food and non-food agricultural products. GAP may consist of guidelines addressing issues of site selection, adjacent land use, fertilizer use, water sourcing and use, pest control and pesticide monitoring, harvesting practices (including worker hygiene, packaging, storage, field sanitation, and product transportation), and cooler operations.
Authoritative On-line References and Resources
http://www.fao.org/prods/GAP/index_en.htm The UN FAO provides independent information on GAP programmes, practices and standards. conditions will have no detrimental effects on either crops or soil-dwelling flora and fauna.”
During the many years of paraquat usage, wide ranges of investigations of its environmental impact have been conducted. Much of this information has been published, but key, long-term field studies have not previously been presented and assessed. The purpose of this review is to bring together and appraise this information. Due to the nature of paraquat residues in soils, the major part (some 99.99%) of a paraquat application that reaches the soil within the typical Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) guidelines is strongly adsorbed to soils of a wide variety of textures. This is in equilibrium with an extremely low concentration in soil solution. However, the paraquat in soil solution is intrinsically biodegradable, being rapidly and completely mineralized by soil microorganisms.
The deactivation of the biological activity of paraquat in soils, due to sorption, has been investigated thoroughly and systematically. It is recognized that the determination of total soil residues by severe extraction procedures provides no insight into the amount of paraquat biologically available in soil. Consequently, the key assay developed for this purpose, namely, the strong adsorption capacity-wheat bioassay (SAC-WB) method, has proved to be valuable for determination of the adsorption capacity relevant to paraquat for any particular soil. This method has been validated in the field with a series of long-term (>10 years) trials in different regions of the world. These trials have also shown that, following repeated applications of very high levels of paraquat in the field, residues not only reach a plateau but also subsequently decline. This demonstrates that the known biodegradation of paraquat in soil pore water plays an important role in field dissipation.
The biological effects of paraquat in the field have been assessed under unrealistically high treatment regimes. These trials have demonstrated that the continued use of paraquat under GAP conditions will have no detrimental effects on either crops or soil-dwelling flora and fauna. Any such effects can occur only under extreme use conditions (above the SAC-WB), which do not arise in normal agricultural practice.
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