A sequential extraction procedure was developed to study the fate of pendimethalin [N- (1 -ethylpropyl) -3,4- dimethyl - 2,6 - dinitrobenzenamine], trifluralin (α,α,α -trifluoro - 2,6 - dinitro - N,N - dipropyl - p - toluidine), and oryzalin (3,5 -dinitro-N
4 -dipropylsulfanilamide) in soil over a 6 - month laboratory incubation period. The distinction of non - bound residues was based on an acidic - methanol extraction followed by an extraction with an acetone :H2O : HCl (95:4:1, v/v/v) solution and then extraction with 0.5 N NaOH with further fractionation of the NaOH extract by partial precipitation. After 6 months, soil - bound 14C-residues of pendimethalin, trifluralin, and oryzalin contained 15, 14, and 23%, respectively, of the radioactivity applied to non - sterilized soil. The proportion of bound radioactivity associated with each organic fraction was nearly identical for each herbicide; 46, 12, 12, and 30% was associated with the acetone:H2O:HCl-soluble, fulvic acid, humic acid, and humin organic fractions, respectively. Soil sterilization reduced herbicide degradation by 31% and radioactivity in the fulvic acid, humic acid, and humin organic fractions by approximately 50% during the 6-month period. Radioactivity in the acetone:H2O:HC1-soluble fraction was reduced less than 10% by soil sterilization.