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Volume 50, Issue 2 p. 476-484
TECHNICAL NOTES & PRELIMINARY COMMUNICATIONS

Assessing surface and subsurface transport of neonicotinoid insecticides from no-till crop fields

Sarah T. Frame

Sarah T. Frame

Dep. of Entomology, Merkle Lab., The Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA, 16802 USA

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Kirsten A. Pearsons

Kirsten A. Pearsons

Dep. of Entomology, Merkle Lab., The Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA, 16802 USA

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Kyle R. Elkin

Kyle R. Elkin

USDA-ARS Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research, University Park, PA, 16802 USA

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Louis S. Saporito

Louis S. Saporito

USDA-ARS Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research, University Park, PA, 16802 USA

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Heather E. Preisendanz

Heather E. Preisendanz

Dep. of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, The Pennsylvania State Univ., 252 Agricultural Engineering Building, University Park, PA, 16802 USA

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Heather D. Karsten

Heather D. Karsten

Dep. of Plant Science, The Pennsylvania State Univ., 102 Tyson Building, University Park, PA, 16802 USA

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John F. Tooker

Corresponding Author

John F. Tooker

Dep. of Entomology, Merkle Lab., The Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA, 16802 USA

Correspondence

John F. Tooker, Dep. of Entomology, Merkle Lab., The Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA 16802, USA.

Email: [email protected]

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First published: 23 December 2020
Citations: 8

Assigned to Associate Editor Mussie Habteselassie.

Abstract

Increased use of neonicotinoid-coated crop seeds introduces greater amounts of insecticides into the environment, where they are vulnerable to transport. To understand the transport of neonicotinoids from agricultural fields, we planted maize (Zea mays L.) seeds coated with thiamethoxam in lysimeter plots in central Pennsylvania. Over the next year, we sampled water generated by rainfall and snowmelt and analyzed these samples with mass spectrometry for the neonicotinoids thiamethoxam and clothianidin (metabolite), which originated from the coated seeds. For surface and subsurface transport, thiamethoxam exhibited “first-flush” dynamics, with concentrations highest during the first events following planting and generally decreasing for the remainder of the study. The metabolite clothianidin, however, persisted throughout the study. The mass of thiamethoxam and clothianidin exported during the study period accounted for 1.09% of the mass applied, with more than 90% of the mass transported in subsurface flow and less than 10% in surface runoff. These results suggest that surface runoff, at least for our site, is a relatively small contributor to the overall fate and transport of these insecticides and that the delivery ratio (i.e., mass exported/mass applied) observed for these compounds is similar to those of other trace-level emerging contaminants known to negatively influence aquatic ecosystems.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The authors declare no conflict of interest.