The impact of humic acid on toxicity of individual herbicides and their mixtures to aquatic macrophytes

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2019 Aug;26(23):23571-23582. doi: 10.1007/s11356-019-05629-6. Epub 2019 Jun 15.


This study investigates the impact of humic acid (HA) on the toxicity of selected herbicides and their binary mixtures to aquatic plants. The focus was on two auxin simulators (2,4-D and dicamba) and two photosynthetic inhibitors (atrazine and isoproturon). The results suggested that the addition of HA to the standard synthetic medium does not affect Lemna minor growth nor the toxicity of atrazine, but increases the toxicity of 2,4-D and the binary mixture of atrazine and 2,4-D. The addition of HA to the standard synthetic medium reversibly decreased the growth (biomass) of Myriophyllum aquaticum and enhanced the toxicity of individually tested herbicides (isoproturon and dicamba) as well as their binary mixture. The results showed delayed toxic effects of auxin simulators, especially 2,4-D in the Lemna test. The recovery after the exposure to individual photosystem II inhibitors (atrazine and isoproturon) is fast in both plant species, regardless of the presence of HA. In the case of selected mixtures (atrazine + 2,4-D and isoproturon + dicamba), recovery of both plant species was noted, while the efficiency depended on the herbicide concentration in the mixture rather than the presence or absence of HA.

Keywords: 2,4-D; Aquatic macrophytes; Atrazine; Dicamba; Humic acid; Isoproturon.

MeSH terms

  • Araceae / drug effects
  • Atrazine / toxicity
  • Dicamba
  • Herbicides / toxicity*
  • Humic Substances / analysis*
  • Phenylurea Compounds
  • Photosynthesis / drug effects
  • Plants / drug effects*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*


  • Herbicides
  • Humic Substances
  • Phenylurea Compounds
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • isoproturon
  • Atrazine
  • Dicamba