Thursday 6 October 2016

Rainfall-induced removal of copper-based spray residues from vines

Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety,132, 2016, 304–310

The continuous use of copper against fungal diseases and off-target effects causes major environmental and agronomic problems. However, the rain-induced removal of Cu-based residues is known only for a limited number of crops. We present the results of rain-induced removal of fungicides from two monitored vineyard plots which were sprayed with two widely used Cu-based formulations: copper-oxychloride (CO) and Bordeaux mixture (BM), respectively. Cu removal per growing season was 0.60±0.12 kg ha−1 (30% of the applied fungicide) for CO and 0.80±0.10 kg ha−1 for BM (70% of the applied fungicide). Fractioning the Cu in soluble (CuS) and particulate fractions (CuP) showed that most of the Cu was removed as CuP, but CuS concentrations found in throughfall collectors exceeded the regulatory threshold for toxicity in surface waters. The first few millimeters of rain caused most of the Cu removal. Our findings agreed with the data reported in the scientific literature, in which a significant fraction of the Cu-based formulation is loosely attached to the plant surfaces. In addition, we found that rainfall energy had a minor influence on the removal.