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Analysis of groundwater and surface water in areas of isoxaflutole application, Tuscola and Kalamazoo Counties, Michigan

December 14, 2022

The herbicide 5-cyclopropyl-4-(2-methylsulfonyl-4-trifluoromethylbenzoyl) isoxazole, also known as isoxaflutole (IXF), was conditionally approved for use on corn in Michigan in 2015. The fate of IXF and its degradates in different environmental settings and the processes by which these compounds move to groundwater or to surface-water bodies have been previously studied, but little information about possible persistence and buildup of this herbicide and its degradates in Michigan’s groundwater and surface water is available. Therefore, from 2015 to 2020, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, studied IXF and two of its degradates in two locations where IXF was applied.

IXF and its degradates were rarely detected in shallow groundwater downgradient from IXF applications. In contrast, one or more of the three target IXF compounds were detected in 40 percent of surface-water samples. The degradates 1-(2-methylsulfonyl-4-trifluoromethylphenyl)-2-cyano-3-cyclopropyl propan-1-dione), also known as diketonitrile isoxaflutole (DKN), and 2-methylsulfonyl-4-(trifluoromethyl) benzoic acid (BAA), the benzoic acid analogue of IXF, were detected more frequently than the parent compound. At surface-water sites, DKN and BAA reached maximum concentrations within about the first 5 weeks after IXF application after rainfall-runoff events. Concentrations subsequent to post-application maxima decreased through time approximately following first-order, exponential loss kinetics. Carryover of DKN and BAA, from an application year to the following spring, occurred at several surface-water sites, and springtime concentrations were typically 1–5 percent of maximum, post-application concentrations. Virtually no detections were recorded later in the growing season during non-application years. Results indicate rapid loss of IXF and very few detections of the parent compound from the study areas. The degradates DKN and BAA were more frequently detected in surface runoff up to about 1 year after IXF application, but no evidence of longer-term accumulation was found.

Publication Year 2022
Title Analysis of groundwater and surface water in areas of isoxaflutole application, Tuscola and Kalamazoo Counties, Michigan
DOI 10.3133/sir20225100
Authors Carol L. Luukkonen, Mark E. Brigham
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2022-5100
Index ID sir20225100
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Upper Midwest Water Science Center