Source: Crop Science Society of America

The loss of atrazine's effectiveness has been a challenge for farmers in northeastern Colorado. In a collaborative study between scientists at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service Water Management Research Unit and Colorado State University, soil samples were collected from multiple fields in northeastern Colorado over several years. To determine the extent of the degradation, samples were measured for their ability to degrade atrazine in the laboratory. Researchers also examined the samples for microorganisms that rapidly metabolize atrazine and investigated common factors in fields that showed degradation.

The study found that approximately 44 percent of the fields demonstrated rapid atrazine degradation activity, with enhanced atrazine degradation widespread within a 300-km radius across northeastern Colorado. Variables involved in the enhanced degradation of atrazine included recent use of the chemical, soil pH, and organic matter content.

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