Ubiquity of microbial capacity to degrade metaldehyde in dissimilar agricultural, allotment and garden soils

Balashova, Natasha ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9159-1779, Wilderspin, Sarah, Cai, Chao and Reid, Brian J. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9613-979X (2020) Ubiquity of microbial capacity to degrade metaldehyde in dissimilar agricultural, allotment and garden soils. Science of the Total Environment, 704. ISSN 0048-9697

[thumbnail of Accepted_Manuscript]
PDF (Accepted_Manuscript) - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Metaldehyde is a molluscicide used to control slugs and snails. Despite its extensive use, very little is known about the capacity of soil microbial communities to degrade this chemical. This research provides a synopsis of the latent capacity of soil microbial communities, present in agricultural (n = 14), allotment (n = 4) and garden (n = 10) soils, to degrade metaldehyde. Extents of 14C-metaldehyde mineralisation across all soils ranged from 17.7 to 60.0 %. Pre-exposure (in situ, in the field) to metaldehyde was not observed to consistently increase extents of metaldehyde mineralisation. Where soils were augmented, (ex situ, in the laboratory) with metaldehyde (28 mg kg-1), the mineralisation capacity was increased in some, but not all, soils (uplift ranged from +0.10 to +16.9 %). Results indicated that catabolic competence to degrade metaldehyde was evident in both surface (16.7 - 52.8 %) and in sub-surface (30.0 - 66.4 %) soil horizons. Collectively, the results suggest that catabolic competence to degrade metaldehyde was ubiquitous across a diverse range of soil environments; that varied in texture (from sand to silty clay loam), pH (6.15 – 8.20) and soil organic matter (SOM) content (1.2 % – 52.1 %). Lighter texture soils, in general, were observed to have higher capacity to mineralise metaldehyde. Weak correlations between catabolic competence and soil pH and soil organic matter content were observed; it was noted that above a SOM threshold of 12 % metaldehyde mineralisation was always > 34 %. It was concluded that the common occurrence of metaldehyde in EU waters is unlikely the consequence of low potential for this chemical to be degraded in soil. It is more likely that application regimes (quantities/timings) and meteorological drivers facilitate the transport of metaldehyde from point of application into water resources.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: attenuation,bioavailability,biodegradation,biodegradation,c-14-respirometry,catabolic activity,contaminants,environment,isoproturon,land use,molluscicide,metaldehyde,organic-matter,pesticides,soil,sdg 15 - life on land ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/life_on_land
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Environmental Biology
Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Geosciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2019 02:02
Last Modified: 31 Dec 2022 01:15
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/73146
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.135412


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item