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Surface and subsurface soils are complex biological, chemical, and physical environments and to understand the fate of pesticides in the soil environment is a formidable task. To determine the environmental fate of pesticides requires a diverse array of techniques and procedures. Microbiological approaches range from applied to basic, laboratory to field, qualitative to quantitative, and from low to high technology. In the arena of biodegradation, teams of scientists are needed to develop predictive models for the behavior of pesticides in the soil environment. From our perspectives, we have documented the existing status of the microbiology of environmental fate studies with pesticides. Verification of data from laboratory studies to the field environment is needed. On the other hand, efforts to design better field studies to assess microbial processes are essential to advance our understanding of environmental fate studies with pesticides.
The pH and hardness of water used as agrochemical carrier can influence herbicide efficacy. The objective of this research was to determine the role of carrier water pH and hardness on saflufenacil efficacy and solubility. Saflufenacil was mixed in eight different carrier waters with one of five pH levels (4.0, 5.2, 6.5, 7.7, 9.0) or one of three hardness levels (0, 310, 620 mg L−1) and applied POST to common lambsquarters and giant ragweed in a field experiment and to field corn in a greenhouse experiment. Solubility testing was also completed on saflufenacil mixed in the five pH levels used in the field and greenhouse experiments. Water hardness did not influence the efficacy of saflufenacil on common lambsquarters, giant ragweed, or field corn. Control of giant ragweed or common lambsquarters in field experiments was reduced by up to 56% when saflufenacil was applied in water with a pH of 4.0 compared with water with a pH of 7.7. When nonsoluble saflufenacil was removed from the spray solution, saflufenacil efficacy on field corn in the greenhouse was reduced by 61% or more when applied in water with a pH of 4.0 than when applied with water with a pH of 5.2 or higher. When nonsoluble saflufenacil was applied with the soluble saflufenacil in the spray solution, at least a 7% reduction in control of field corn was observed when applied in water with pH of 4.0 as compared with saflufenacil applied in water with pH of 5.2 or higher. Solubility of saflufenacil was (1) 10.1 mg L−1 in water with a pH of 4.0, (2) 3,461.4 mg L−1 in water with a pH of 7.7, and (3) > 5,000 mg L−1 at a pH of 9. Some degradation of parent saflufenacil was detected in the pH at 9.0 treatment, with only 90% of added product being recovered after 3 d of storage. This research provides information on how saflufenacil efficacy and solubility is influenced by carrier water pH and potentially explains some differences noticed between field applications of saflufenacil.
An assessment of the inter- and intraspecific resolution of 5′ nrDNA ITS TRFLP was conducted by computer-simulated restriction analysis of 316 ectomycorrhizal GenBank sequences. Generally, sequences with a similarity of <90% could be distinguished with two to three independent enzyme digests, although sequences with similarity >95% were likely to remain unresolved. Choice of restriction enzyme strongly influenced resolution, especially when less than three enzymes were used. Although our results showed that 5′ nrDNA ITS TRFLP is a powerful tool for distinguishing between species of ectomycorrhizal fungi, closely related species, including species of Rhizopogon, Dermocybe, Hebeloma, and Lactarius produced indistinguishable 5′ nrDNA ITS TRFLP – profiles. 5′ nrDNA ITS TRFLP may also split a species, and the probability of this occurring reflected intraspecific sequence variation. For groups of closely related species, the use of 3′ nrDNA ITS in conjunction with 5′ nrDNA ITS produced improved resolution comparable with RFLP analyses. Overall, our results show that nrDNA ITS TRFLP is a valuable addition to the array of molecular tools available to ectomycorrhizal ecologists. However, simple assessments of ectomycorrhizal species diversity based on numbers of unique TRF created with a single restriction enzyme must be viewed with caution, as for each enzyme we examined, identical TRF common to groups of unrelated species were observed. In addition, to maximize the effectiveness of TRFLP in surveys of ectomycorrhizal fungi it will be useful to combine information from at least two independent enzyme digests in order to distinguish and track species in the field.
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