Factors controlling sorption of prosulfuron by variable-charge soils and model sorbents

Seunghun Hyun, Linda S. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Prosulfuron [1-(4-methoxy-6-methyltriazin-2-yl)-3-[2-(3,3,3- trifluoropropyl) phenylsulfonyl]-urea), a relatively new sulfonylurea herbicide, is a weak acid (pKa 3.76), and therefore, will undergo pH-dependent speciation and sorption. Understanding prosulfuron sorption in soils is important for predicting its environmental fate. Soil and solution factors controlling sorption were investigated by measuring prosulfuron sorption on five model sorbents (amorphous silica, α-alumina, CaSWy1 montmorillonite, commercial humic acid, and anion exchange resin) and 10 variable-charge soils from CaCl2 and Ca(H2PO4)2 solutions as a function of pH and ionic strength. Anion exchange of prosulfuron accounted for up to 82% of overall sorption in the pH range from 3 to 7. The relative importance of anion exchange to prosulfuron sorption was positively correlated to the ratio of anion and cation exchange capacities. Comparison between organic carbon (OC)-normalized sorption (Koc) versus pH for humic acid and variable-charge soils show similar trends with sorption decreasing with increasing pH. However, Koc values estimated from variable-charge soils in the lower pH range where anion exchange has the greatest contribution to sorption was almost one log unit greater than that estimated from humic acid clearly exemplifying the impact of anion exchange. Similarity in K oc-pH curves for humic acid and variable-charge soils may result from the fact that (i) cation exchange capacity increases with increasing OC content, thus effective anion exchange capacity is reduced; and (ii) the relative contribution of hydrophobic and hydrophobic sorption mechanisms was fairly constant. Given that both hydrophilic and hydrophobic sorption of prosulfuron decrease with increasing pH, addition of fertilizer and lime amendments may enhance the potential for off-site leaching of recently applied acidic pesticides.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1354-1361
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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