Atrazine and Alachlor Inputs to Surface and Ground Waters in Irrigated Corn Cultivation Areas of Castilla-Leon Region, Spain

  • M. SÁnchez-Camazano
  • L. F. Lorenzo
  • M. J. SÁnchez-MartÍn


The inputs of atrazine and alachlor herbicides to surface and ground waters from irrigated areas dedicated to corn cultivation in the Castilla-León (C-L) region (Spain) as related to the application of both herbicides were studied. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) were used for monitoring the atrazine and alachlor concentrations in 98 water samples taken from these areas. Seventy-nine of the samples were of ground waters and 19 were of surface waters. The concentration ranges of the herbicides detected in the study period (October 1997–October 1998) were 0.04–25.3 μg L−1 in the surface waters and 0.04–3.45 μg L−1 in the ground waters for atrazine, and 0.06–31.9 μg L−1 in the surface waters and 0.05–4.85 μg L−1 in the ground waters in the case of alachlor. The highly significant correlation observed between the concentrations of both herbicides in the surface waters (r = 0.89, p < 0.001) pointed to a parallel transport of atrazine and alachlor to these waters. A study was made of the temporal evolution of the concentrations of both herbicides, and it was found a maximum recharge of atrazine in the ground waters for April 1998 and of alachlor in October 1997 and October 1998. The temporal evolution of the concentrations of both herbicides in surface waters was parallel. The highly significant correlations observed between atrazine concentrations determined by ELISA and by HPLC (r = 0.92, p < 0.001) and between alachlor concentrations also determined by both methods (r = 0.96, p < 0.001) confirmed the usefulness of ELISA for monitoring both herbicides in an elevated number of samples. Using HPLC, the presence in some waters of the alachlor ethanesulfonate (ESA) metabolite was found at a concentration range of 0.52–4.01 μg L−1. However the interference of ESA in the determination of alachlor by ELISA was negligible. The inputs of atrazine and alachlor to waters found in this study, especially the inputs to ground waters, could pose a risk for human health considering that some waters, though sporadically, are even used for human consumption.


alachlor atrazine corn cultivation ground water surface water 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. SÁnchez-Camazano
    • 1
  • L. F. Lorenzo
    • 1
  • M. J. SÁnchez-MartÍn
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología de SalamancaCSICSalamancaSpain

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