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A Comparison of Symmetrical and Asymmetrical Triazine Herbicides for Enhanced Degradation in Three Midwestern Soils

  • Ethan T. Parker (a1), Micheal D. K. Owen (a2), Mark L. Bernards (a3), William S. Curran (a4), Lawrence E. Steckel (a5) and Thomas C. Mueller (a6)...


The triazines are one of the most widely used herbicide classes ever developed and are critical for managing weed populations that have developed herbicide resistance. These herbicides are traditionally valued for their residual weed control in more than 50 crops. Scientific literature suggests that atrazine, and perhaps other s-triazines, may no longer remain persistent in soils due to enhanced microbial degradation. Experiments examined the rate of degradation of atrazine and two other triazine herbicides, simazine and metribuzin, in both atrazine-adapted and non-history Corn Belt soils, with similar soils being used from each state as a comparison of potential triazine degradation. In three soils with no history of atrazine use, the t1/2 of atrazine was at least four times greater than in three soils with a history of atrazine use. Simazine degradation in the same three sets of soils was 2.4 to 15 times more rapid in history soils than non-history soils. Metribuzin in history soils degraded at 0.6, 0.9, and 1.9 times the rate seen in the same three non-history soils. These results indicate enhanced degradation of the symmetrical triazine simazine, but not of the asymmetrical triazine metribuzin.


Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: Thomas C. Mueller, 2431 Joe Johnson Drive, Knoxville, TN 37996. (Email:


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