Non-point source pollution of ground and surface water by pesticides in causing concern throughout the world, as it poses a risk of public health and environmental quality. Once water is polluted, its quantity and wide distribution make it virtually impossible to eradicate the very low concentrations (measured in ppb) of pesticides involved. Efforts are, therefore, being made to minimise the risk of penetration by the pollutants to levels below the root zone, as a result of leaching or transport by surface runoff. Atrazine is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, mainly in corn and sorghum cultivation, as a major means of weed control. As a result of its long half-life and potential mobility through the soil, contamination of water by this chemical has been recorded in agricultural areas in the USA and Europe (Ritter, 1990; Jamet and Delleu, 1993). Current regulations forbid atrazine concentrations above 3.0 μgl−1 (US) and 0.1 μgl−1 (Europe).
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- Biodegradation pathway of atrazine in soil of northern Israel
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