Plant and Soil

, Volume 280, Issue 1–2, pp 115–126 | Cite as

Atrazine Tolerance of Grass Species with Potential for Use in Vegetated Filters in Australia



The response of introduced (Pennisetum clandestinum Hochst.) and native (Stipa aristiglumis F. Muell., Themeda australis (R. Br.) Stapf, Danthonia spp. (L.) grasses to the herbicide atrazine was studied in plants with the potential for use in vegetated filters (biofilters) designed to reduce chemical loads in agricultural runoff. The response was detected by photosynthetic inhibition using leaf chlorophyll fluorescence. With continuous short-term (14 days) dosing with atrazine in sand culture, P. clandestinum showed the greatest tolerance, regardless of the dose (20–500 μg/L). In a clay vertosol soil in the glasshouse, the four species were tolerant to longer-term (84 days) application of three successive doses of simulated run-on, each dose containing 100 μg/L atrazine, a concentration which is comparable to the highest reported in runoff from agricultural land in Australia. Even with a subsequent single atrazine dose at ∼ ∼5000 μg/L, established plants of the four species showed signs of quick recovery (7–21 days) to normal photosynthetic activity. In a field experiment with simulated run-on, applied to P. clandestinum pasture in sandy loam soil, repeated doses at concentrations up to 1000 μg/L gave no significant response; only a subsequent single dose of 5000 μg/L had significant effects, from which plants soon recovered. Although damage from atrazine can be demonstrated with continuous dosing in non-adsorbing media, in soil culture the tolerance of the four selected species to repeat doses of atrazine shows they may be used confidently for biofiltering purposes. P. clandestinum was especially tolerant.


atrazine concentration buffer strips grass response Pennisetum clandestinum 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Landscape and Ecosystem Management, School of Environment and AgricultureUniversity of Western SydneyPenrith SouthAustralia

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