Author(s): Tappe W, Groeneweg J, Jantsch B
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Abstract Until its prohibition in Germany in 1991, atrazine was the most frequently applied herbicide in maize cultivation. Moreover, it was used in orchards and vineyards and as a total herbicide on non-cultivated grounds (railways, factory grounds). Later on, atrazine was substituted mainly by terbutylazine. Terbutylazine and terbutryn are the only s-triazines presently permitted in Germany. Nevertheless, atrazine and its metabolite desethylatrazine are by far the most abundant herbicides detected in near surface groundwater. This might be due to wash-outs from the pools of atrazine and its metabolites from the soil into the groundwater or continuing illegal applications. Samples taken from maize fields in 1994 showed that 6.2\% of 471 fields tested were treated with atrazine despite the prohibition of its use. Nevertheless, the overall trend is in fact a slow decrease in atrazine concentrations where it is detected in groundwater and, simultaneously often a slight increase in desethylatrazine concentrations. But this is not the case for all sampling points, and increasing concentrations in several aquifers are observed as well. Factors governing the adsorption, degradation, persistence and the possible transfer into the aquifer and the current situation concerning atrazine occurrence in German aquifers will be discussed.
This article was published in Biodegradation
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation