The spatial variability in the mineralisation rate of linuron [N-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-N′-methoxy-N′-methylurea] was studied within a previously treated Danish agricultural field by sampling soils from eleven different plots randomly distributed across an area of 20 x 20 m. The soils were characterised with respect to different abiotic and biotic properties including moisture content, organic matter content, pH, nutrient content, bacterial biomass, potential for mineralisation of MCPA [(4-chloro-2-methylphenoxy) acetic acid] and linuron. Five soils had a potential for mineralisation of linuron, with 5-15% of the added [ring-U- 14C]linuron metabolised to 14CO 2 within 60 days at 10°C, while no extensive mineralisation of linuron was observed in the six remaining soils within this period. A TLC analysis of the methanol-extractable residues showed no development of 14C-labelled metabolites from linuron in any of the samples. Multivariate analysis was conducted to elucidate relationships between the intrinsic properties of single soil samples and initial rate of linuron mineralisation. The analysis indicated that important soil parameters in determining the spatial heterogeneity included the C total/N total ratio, pH and the water-extractable potassium contents, with the first of these highly negatively correlated and the last two highly positively correlated to the initial linuron mineralisation rate. This study shows that enhanced biodegradation of linuron may develop with successive field treatments, but that considerable in-field spatial heterogeneity in the degradation rate still exists. Combined with a parallel enrichment study focused on the underlying microbial processes, the present results suggest that intrinsic soil properties affect the linuron-metabolising bacterial population and thereby determine the spatial variability in the linuron mineralisation activity.
- Carbon/nitrogen ratio
- PLS-R model
- Spatial heterogeneity
- Programme Area 2: Water Resources