Glyphosate bioavailability in soil


Biodegradation of glyphosate in sod-podzol soil by both the indigenous micro flora and the introduced strain Ochrobactrum anthropi GPK 3 was studied with respect to its sorption and mobility. The experiments were carried out in columns simulating the vertical soil profile. Soil samples studied were taken from soil horizons 0–10, 10–20, and 20–30 cm deep. It was found out that the most of the herbicide (up to 84%) was adsorbed by soil during the first 24 h; the rest (16%) remained in the soluble fraction. The adsorbed glyphosate was completely extractable by alkali. No irreversible binding of glyphosate was observed. By the end of the experiment (21st day), glyphosate was only found in extractable fractions. The comparison of the effect of the introduced O. anthropi GPK 3 and indigenous microbial community on the total toxicant content (both soluble and absorbed) in the upper 10 cm soil layer showed its reduction by 42% (21 mg/kg soil) and 10–12% (5 mg/kg soil), respectively. Simultaneously, 14–18% glyphosate moved to a lower 10–20 cm layer. Watering (that simulated rainfall) resulted in a 20% increase of its content at this depth; 6–8% of herbicide was further washed down to the 20–30 cm layer. The glyphosate mobility down the soil profile reduced its density in the upper layer, where it was available for biodegradation, and resulted in its concentration in lower horizons characterized by the absence (or low level) of biodegradative processes. It was shown for the first time how the herbicide biodegradation in soil can be increased manifold by introduction of the selected strain O. anthropi GPK 3.

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The work was supported by the International Science & Technology Center, project no. 1892.2, and Ministry of Education and Science of Russian Federation, project “Development of Scientific Potential of the Higher School” (

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Correspondence to Inna Ermakova.

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Shushkova, T., Ermakova, I. & Leontievsky, A. Glyphosate bioavailability in soil. Biodegradation 21, 403–410 (2010).

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  • Biodegradation
  • Glyphosate
  • Mobility
  • Ochrobactrum anthropi
  • Sorption