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Can artificial soil be used in the vegetative vigor test for US pesticide registration?

Authors

  • Conor Bidelspach,

    1. US Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Western Ecology Division, 200 SW 35th Street, Corvallis, OR 97333
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  • David Olszyk,

    1. US Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Western Ecology Division, 200 SW 35th Street, Corvallis, OR 97333
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  • Thomas Pfleeger

    Corresponding author
    1. US Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Western Ecology Division, 200 SW 35th Street, Corvallis, OR 97333
    • US Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Western Ecology Division, 200 SW 35th Street, Corvallis, OR 97333
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Current testing guidelines for pesticide registration for the protection of nontarget plants calls for the use of sterilized, standardized soil consisting of primarily sandy loam, loamy sand, loamy clay, or clay loam that contains up to 3% organic matter. Low organic matter soils can be difficult to manage in a greenhouse setting because when soils dry, they contract, causing impeded water infiltration, or when overwatered, poor drainage increases the chances of anaerobic conditions. The purpose of this study was to determine if the results for the vegetative vigor test differed when using either natural or artificial soils. The herbicide sulfometuron methyl was applied 14 d after emergence at 0.1 and 0.0032 of the suggested field application rate. Six plant species were tested, 4 of the common test species, Zea mays (corn), Glycine max (soybean), Avena sativa (oat), and Lactuca sativa (lettuce), and 2 native plants of the Willamette Valley, Oregon prairie, Bromus carinatus (California brome) and Ranunculus occidentalis (western buttercup). Herbicide application rate was the most significant factor in the experiment regardless of soil type. The different soils generally produced different results, even though the 2 native soils, one from Oregon and the other from Maryland, are both acceptable soils for the pesticide registration tests. The plants grown on artificial soil produced results generally between the Oregon and Maryland soil results. This study indicates that artificial soils may produce results similar to or more sensitive than soils currently used in the vegetative vigor test.

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