Abstract The large spatial heterogeneity in soil physico-chemical and microbial parameters challenges our ability to predict and model pesticide leaching from agricultural land. Microbial mineralization of pesticides is an important process with respect to pesticide leaching since mineralization is the major process for the complete degradation of pesticides without generation of metabolites. The aim of our study was to determine field-scale variation in the potential for mineralization of the herbicides glyphosate, bromoxyniloctanoate, diflufenican, and bentazone and to investigate whether this variation can be predicted by variations in basic soil parameters. Sixty-five soil samples were sampled from an agricultural, loamy field in Silstrup, Denmark, from a 60 × 165 m rectangular grid. The mineralization potential of the four pesticides was determined using a 96-well microplate 14C-radiorespirometric method. Initial mineralization rates were determined using first-order kinetics for glyphosate and bromoxyniloctanoate and zero-order kinetics for diflufenican and bentazone. The mineralization rates of the four pesticides varied between the different pesticides and the different soil samples, but we could not establish correlations between the pesticide mineralization rates and the measured soil parameters. Only the glyphosate mineralization rates showed slightly increasing mineralization potentials towards the northern area of the field, with increasing clay and decreasing OC contents. The mineralization potentials for glyphosate and bentazone were compared with 9-years leaching data from two horizontal wells 3.5 m below the field. The field-scale leaching patterns, however, could not be explained by the pesticide mineralization data. Instead, field-scale pesticide leaching may have been governed by soil structure and preferential flow events.
- Programområde 2: Vandressourcer