Efficient method development for atrazine determination in soil samples

Author(s): Samuel K.Frimpong, Gustav Gbeddy, Israel Doyi, Francis Arye-Quaye, Wilson Kokroko, Catherine O.Asamoah

Atrazine is a worldwide herbicide used to control pre- and post-emergence broadleaf and grassy weeds in major crops. Being both effective and inexpensive, it iswell-suited to production systems with very narrowprofit margins, as is often the case with maize. However, due to atrazine’s ground water contamination potential and its association with birth defects and menstrual problems when consumed by humans at concentrations even belowgovernment standards; environmentalmedia monitoring for atrazine are inevitable. The objective of this study was to investigate a proposed “safe, cheap and relatively fast” analytical technique for the routine monitoring of atrazine in soil samples by high performance liquid chromatography equipped with ultra-violet detector and/or gas chromatography mass spectrometry. The method uses acetonitrile as the extracting solvent, and a self-packed activated silica gel for clean-up of extract. The proposed method exhibited good sensitivity and recovery, and allowed for rapid analysis. For soil analysis, a single chemist could prepare test solutions from 15 corresponding homogenized samples within 4 hours.

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