Effect of urea on degradation of terbuthylazine in soil

Anna Barra Caracciolo, Giuseppe Giuliano, Paola Grenni, Carlo Cremisini, Roberto Ciccoli, Carla Ubaldi

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Pesticide and nitrate contamination of soil and groundwater from agriculture is an environmental and public health concern worldwide. The herbicide terbuthylazine (CBET) has replaced atrazine in Italy and in many other countries because the use of the latter has been banned because of its adverse environmental impacts. Unlike atrazine, knowledge about the fate of CBET in soil is still not extensive, especially regarding its transformation products, but recent monitoring data show its occurrence and that of its main metabolite, desethyl-terbuthylazine (CBAT), in groundwater above the limit of 0.1 μg/L established by European Union Directive and Italian legislation. The objective of this work was to investigate if the presence of the fertilizer urea affects CBET degradation in the soil. Laboratory CBET degradation experiments in the presence/absence of urea were performed with microbiologically active soil and sterilized soil. Terbuthylazine degradation rates under the different experimental conditions were assessed, and the formation, degradation, and transformation of the metabolite CBAT were also studied. Terbuthylazine degradation was affected by the presence of urea, in terms both of a higher disappearance time of 50% of the initial concentration and of a lower amount of CBAT formed. These findings have practical implications for the real-life assessment of the environmental fate of triazine herbicides in agricultural areas since these herbicides are frequently applied to soils receiving ureic fertilizers. © 2005 SETAC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1035 - 1040
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2005


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this

Barra Caracciolo, A., Giuliano, G., Grenni, P., Cremisini, C., Ciccoli, R., & Ubaldi, C. (2005). Effect of urea on degradation of terbuthylazine in soil. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 24(5), 1035 - 1040. https://doi.org/10.1897/04-253R.1