Metribuzin is a triazinone herbicide that is widely used for the control of grasses and broad-leaved weeds in soybeans, sugarcane, and numerous other crops. Metribuzin is highly toxic to freshwater macrophytes and algae under laboratory conditions (median plant EC50 = 31 ??g/L; n = 11 species) but has not been studied under controlled outdoor conditions. We conducted a 6-week study to examine the aquatic fate and effects of metribuzin in 0.1-ha outdoor aquatic mesocosms. Mesocosms (n = 2 per treatment) were treated with metribuzin at one of five concentrations: 0, 9, 19, 38, or 75 ??g/L. Concentrations were selected to bracket known laboratory effect concentrations and to reflect calculated edge-of-field concentrations. The dissipation half-life of metribuzin in water was 5 days. Metribuzin had no statistically significant effects on water quality, periphyton biomass, macrophyte biomass, macrophyte species composition, fish survival, or fish growth at treatment levels ranging up to and including 75 ??g/L. Although metribuzin is highly toxic to freshwater macrophytes and algae under laboratory conditions, it poses little risk to nontarget aquatic plants due to the short aqueous dissipation half-life. The findings also demonstrate that current herbicide risk assessment procedures used in the registration process could benefit from empirical assessments of the fate of chemicals under realistic environmental conditions.
Additional Publication Details
Fate and effects of the triazinone herbicide metribuzin in experimental pond mesocosms
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology