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The influence of small‐ and large‐scale composting on the dissipation of pesticide residues in a biopurification matrix

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BACKGROUND: Pesticides are efficiently retained and degraded in the organic matrix of a biopurification system. However, as this matrix mineralizes slowly over time, nutrients will start to become depleted and thus a decay in biomass will probably occur. At that moment, the efficiency of the system decreases and the matrix should be replaced. The spent matrix might still contain residues of pesticides. Hence treatment of this matrix is essential. In this study we opted to use composting or incubation as an effective and environmentally friendly treatment strategy.

RESULTS: Small‐ and large‐scale composting/incubation trials were set up to treat the presence of linuron, bentazone, metalaxyl and bifenthrin in a contaminated matrix. Large‐scale composting, performed in an industrial composting facility, resulted in decreased concentrations of metalaxyl, linuron and bentazone. Degradation of bifenthrin was very limited. In the small‐scale incubation process, a decrease in concentration was noted for bifenthrin, metalaxyl and bentazone. A reduction in extractable pesticide concentration does not, however, always indicate degradation but could be attributed to the formation of non‐extractable residues.

CONCLUSION: Industrial and small‐scale composting/incubation reduced the concentration of some pesticides during the timeframe studied, although little reduction was obtained for the persistent pesticide bifenthrin in the industrial composting process and for linuron in barrel incubation. Copyright © 2010 Society of Chemical Industry
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Keywords: barrel composting; biopurification system; degradation; industrial composting; matrix; pesticide

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 2010

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