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Leaching and sorption of neonicotinoid insecticides and fungicides from seed coatings

February 1, 2018

Seed coatings are a treatment used on a variety of crops to improve production and offer protection against pests and fungal outbreaks. The leaching of the active ingredients associated with the seed coatings and the sorption to soil was evaluated under laboratory conditions using commercially available corn and soybean seeds to study the fate and transport of these pesticides under controlled conditions. The active ingredients (AI) included one neonicotinoid insecticide (thiamethoxam) and five fungicides (azoxystrobin, fludioxonil, metalaxyl, sedaxane thiabendazole). An aqueous leaching experiment was conducted with treated corn and soybean seeds. Leaching potential was a function of solubility and seed type. The leaching of fludioxonil, was dependent on seed type with a shorter time to equilibrium on the corn compared to the soybean seeds. Sorption experiments with the treated seeds and a solution of the AIs were conducted using three different soil types. Sorption behavior was a function of soil organic matter as well as seed type. For most AIs, a negative relationship was observed between the aqueous concentration and the log Koc. Sorption to all soils tested was limited for the hydrophilic pesticides thiamethoxam and metalaxyl. However, partitioning for the more hydrophobic fungicides was dependent on both seed type and soil properties. The mobility of fludioxonil in the sorption experiment varied by seed type indicating that the adjuvants associated with the seed coating could potentially play a role in the environmental fate of fludioxonil. This is the first study to assess, under laboratory conditions, the fate of pesticides associated with seed coatings using commercially available treated seeds. This information can be used to understand how alterations in agricultural practices (e.g., increasing use of seed treatments) can impact the exposure (concentration and duration) and potential effects of these chemicals to aquatic and terrestrial organisms.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2018
Title Leaching and sorption of neonicotinoid insecticides and fungicides from seed coatings
DOI 10.1080/03601234.2017.1405619
Authors Kelly L. Smalling, Michelle Hladik, Corey Sanders, Kathryn Kuivila
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Environmental Science and Health - Part B Pesticides, Food Contaminants, and Agricultural Wastes
Series Number
Index ID 70195547
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization California Water Science Center