Effect of sludge-amendment or nutrient addition on the biodegradation of the herbicide isoproturon in soil

Chemosphere. 2001 Aug;44(4):887-92. doi: 10.1016/s0045-6535(00)00283-6.


Adding sludge to agricultural soil results in added organic matter, nutrients and metallic and/or organic pollutants. These components may modify the behaviour of pesticides in the soil. We monitored possible changes in the degradation of the herbicide isoproturon (production of CO2 and degradation products) in soil amended with sludge, heavy metals or nitrogen and phosphorus. The treated and control soils were incubated under controlled conditions for 60 days. The nitrogen and phosphorus had the greatest effect on isoproturon degradation, independent of the presence of pollutants. Mineralisation of the herbicide to CO2 was slow and seemed to be linked to a fast degradation and to the accumulation of a complex degradation product that was neither catabolized nor adsorbed, 4,4'-diisopropylazobenzene. This degradation pathway also produced smaller amounts of non-extractable residues. Sewage sludge had no significant effect on isoproturon degradation, despite a large increase of organic matter mineralisation (factor 2).

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Carbon Dioxide / analysis
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Herbicides / metabolism*
  • Metals, Heavy / analysis
  • Methylurea Compounds / metabolism*
  • Nitrogen / analysis
  • Phenylurea Compounds*
  • Phosphorus / analysis
  • Sewage / chemistry*
  • Sewage / microbiology
  • Soil Microbiology
  • Soil Pollutants / metabolism*


  • Herbicides
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Methylurea Compounds
  • Phenylurea Compounds
  • Sewage
  • Soil Pollutants
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Phosphorus
  • isoproturon
  • Nitrogen