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Fate of the insecticide lambda-cyhalothrin in ditch enclosures differing in vegetation density



Use of the insecticide lambda-cyhalothrin in agriculture may result in the contamination of water bodies, for example by spray drift. Therefore, the possible exposure of aquatic organisms to this insecticide needs to be evaluated. The exposure of the organisms may be reduced by the strong sorption of the insecticide to organic materials and its susceptibility to hydrolysis at the high pH values in the natural range. In experiments done in May and August, formulated lambda-cyhalothrin was mixed with the water body of enclosures in experimental ditches containing a bottom layer and macrophytes (at different densities) or phytoplankton. Concentrations of lambda-cyhalothrin in the water body and in the sediment layer, and contents in the plant compartment, were measured by gas-liquid chromatography at various times up to 1 week after application. Various water quality parameters were also measured. Concentrations of lambda-cyhalothrin decreased rapidly in the water column: 1 day after application, 24–40% of the dose remained in the water, and by 3 days it had declined to 1.8–6.5%. At the highest plant density, lambda-cyhalothrin residue in the plant compartment reached a maximum of 50% of the dose after 1 day; at intermediate and low plant densities, this maximum was only 3–11% of the dose (after 1–2 days). The percentage of the insecticide in the ditch sediment was 12% or less of the dose and tended to be lower at higher plant densities. Alkaline hydrolysis in the water near the surface of macrophytes and phytoplankton is considered to be the main dissipation process for lambda-cyhalothrin. Copyright © 2003 Society of Chemical Industry