Seed dressing with fungicide or insecticide is a standard procedure for growing major crops, but very little is known about the leaching risk and the general fate of pesticides from coated seeds. Triazole fungicides are commonly used seed dressing fungicides and recently, there has been increasing concern that 1,2,4-triazole, a major degradation product of several triazole fungicides, may leach to groundwater in concentrations exceeding the 0.1 μg/L threshold limit of the European Union. We therefore carried out a laboratory column experiment with commercial barley seeds coated with the triazole fungicides tebuconazole and prothioconazole to study the fate of the fungicides and their degradation products, especially 1,2,4-triazole. Our experiment showed that the fungicides themselves were relatively immobile in the soil columns, but also that leaching of 1,2,4-triazole will occur no matter if tebuconazole or prothioconazole is used as seed dressing. Relatively high 1,2,4-triazole concentrations (up to 0.8 μg/L) were measured in the column leachates, but when the experiment was terminated after 63 days, a total of only 1 % of the fungicides was recovered as 1,2,4-triazole in the leachate. Our results suggest that seed dressing pesticides should be considered together with spray applications when estimating the total 1,2,4-triazole load from agriculture and that seed dressing pesticides and their degradation products should be included when evaluating leaching risks from pesticide applications in agriculture.
- Programområde 2: Vandressourcer