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Review article2020Peer reviewed

Biodegradation and Abiotic Degradation of Trifluralin: A Commonly Used Herbicide with a Poorly Understood Environmental Fate

Coleman, Nicholas, V; Rich, Deborah J.; Tang, Fiona H. M.; Vervoort, R. Willem; Maggi, Federico


Trifluralin is a widely used dinitroaniline herbicide, which can persist in the environment and has substantial ecotoxicity, especially to aquatic organisms. Trifluralin is very insoluble in water (0.22 mg/L at 20 degrees C) and highly volatile (vapor pressure of 6.7 mPa at 20 degrees C); these physicochemical properties determine a large part of its environmental fate, which includes rapid loss from soils if surface-applied, strong binding to soil organic matter, and negligible leaching into water. The trifluralin structure contains a tertiary amino group, two nitro-groups and a trifluoromethyl- group. Despite the strongly xenobiotic character of some of these substituents, biodegradation of trifluralin does occur, and pure cultures of bacteria and fungi capable of partially degrading the molecule either by dealkylation or nitro-group reduction have been identified. There are many unanswered questions about the environmental fate and metabolism of this herbicide; the genes and enzymes responsible for biodegradation are largely unknown, the relative roles of abiotic processes vs growth-linked biodegradation vs cometabolism are unresolved, and the impact of different environmental factors on the rates and extents of biodegradation are not clear. Here, we summarize the relevant literature on the persistence and environmental fate of trifluralin with a focus on biodegradation pathways and mechanisms, and we identify the current major knowledge gaps for future research.

Published in

Environmental Science and Technology
2020, Volume: 54, number: 17, pages: 10399-10410 Publisher: AMER CHEMICAL SOC

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    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

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