Phytoremediation of Pesticide Wastes in Soil

Thumbnail Image
Henderson, Keri
Belden, Jason
Zhao, Shaohan
Major Professor
Committee Member
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Coats, Joel
Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Organizational Unit

The Department of Entomology seeks to teach the study of insects, their life-cycles, and the practicalities in dealing with them, for use in the fields of business, industry, education, and public health. The study of entomology can be applied towards evolution and ecological sciences, and insects’ relationships with other organisms & humans, or towards an agricultural or horticultural focus, focusing more on pest-control and management.

The Department of Entomology was founded in 1975 as a result of the division of the Department of Zoology and Entomology.

Related Units

Journal Issue
Is Version Of

Soils at agrochemical dealer sites often are contaminated with pesticide residues from decades of accidental and incidental spillage. We have determined that prairie grasses native to the Midwestern U.S. are suitable for phytoremediation because they are tolerant of most herbicides and of climatic extremes, such as heat, cold, drought, and flooding. A mixed stand of big bluestem, switch grass, and yellow indiangrass develops a rhizosphere with microflora that can readily detoxify pesticide residues. Specific atrazine-degrading bacteria or the free enzyme atrazine chlorohydrolase also can enhance the rate of biotransformation of atrazine in soil. Metolachlor degradation can be accelerated significantly by the prairie grass/rhizosphere effect. Several grasses used in filter strips have also been evaluated for their pesticidedegradation capabilities. The prairie grasses also have been demonstrated to reduce the rates of leaching of pesticides through intact soil columns, since less water leaches out of vegetated soil columns compared to non-vegetated soil columns. The evaluation of the degree of success of remediation has relied heavily on chemical residue analysis, but recent studies on biological endpoints have shown promise for providing more ecologically relevant indications of the potential exposure of organisms to pesticides in the soil. Earthworm 8-day bioaccumulation assays and root growth assays have shown the value of assessing the bioavailability of the residues. Mass balance experiments have utilized radiolabeled atrazine and metolachlor to ascertain the complete metabolism and binding profile of those two pesticides in phytoremediation studies.


This article is from Zeitschrift für Naturforschung C 61 (2006): 213, doi:10.1515/znc-2006-3-410. Posted with permission.

Subject Categories
Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2006