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Keywords:

  • glyphosate;
  • leaching;
  • soil;
  • groundwater;
  • sorption

Abstract

There is currently concern that glyphosate, a strongly sorbing non-selective herbicide which is widely used in Europe, may be leached from the root zone into drainage water and groundwater. The purpose of this review is to present and discuss the state of knowledge with respect to the mobility and leaching of glyphosate from agricultural soils. Specific attention is given to the adsorption behaviour of glyphosate and the analysis of available studies on glyphosate transport. In addition, there are a number of experimental and numerical studies indicating that other strongly sorbing substances may be transported rapidly to the sub-surface. The experimental studies analysed in the paper encompass column-, lysimeter- and field-scale experiments on glyphosate transport. The experimental findings, combined with transport studies on other strongly sorbing pesticides in the literature, support the hypothesis that transport of glyphosate may be caused by an interaction of high rainfall events shortly after application on wet soils showing the presence of preferential flow paths. Concentrations of glyphosate in European groundwater have been reported occasionally but monitoring is still limited. Copyright © 2005 Society of Chemical Industry