Movement of metolachlor in soil: Effect of new organo-clay formulations

Y. El-Nahhal, S. Nir, T. Polubesova, L. Margulies, B. Rubin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The use of commercially available formulations of metolachlor has resulted in its leaching and migration to water sources. Formulations of metolachlor designed to reduce its leaching in soil have been prepared by adding the herbicide dissolved in an organic solvent or in water to organo- clay complexes. Best formulations were made when the organo-clay complex was formed by adsorbing the monovalent organic cations benzyltrimethylammonium (BTMA) or benzyltriethylammonium (BTEA) onto sodium montmorillonite (Mont) at 0.5 or 0.8 mole kg-1 clay. Adsorption of metolachlor to organo-clays followed the sequence Mont-BTMA 0.5 > Mont-BTMA 0.8 > Mont-BTEA 0.8 > Mont- BTEA 0.5 > Mont. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analysis demonstrated the occurrence of shifts of several peaks of adsorbed metolachlor relative to the free herbicide, indicating the existence of strong interactions between metolachlor molecules and the organo-clay surface. Leaching studies employing organo-clay and commercial formulations were carried out under greenhouse and field conditions. Metolachlor applied as organo-clay formulations leached less than the commercial formulation. Organo-clay formulations prepared by adding the herbicide as a water solution showed less leaching in the soil profile than those made by using organic solvent. Under greenhouse conditions, the herbicidal activity of organo-clay formulations was similar to that of the commercial one. Under field conditions, leaching from Mont- BTMA 0.5-metolachlor was less than that from the commercial formulation, demonstrating the environmental and agricultural advantages of the organo- clay formulations of metolachlor.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)857-864
Number of pages8
JournalPesticide Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1999


  • Benzyltriethylammonium
  • Benzyltrimethylammonium
  • Herbicidal activity
  • Leaching
  • Montmorillonite
  • Phyto toxicity


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