Use of cover crops in vineyards to prevent groundwater pollution by copper and organic fungicides. Soil column studies.


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Several fungicides, such as copper and organic products (synthetic or natural), are currently being used in vineyards to control downy mildew (Plasmopara viticola) resulting in soil, surface water, and groundwater pollution. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of using cover crops as an agricultural practice in vineyards to protect soil and groundwater pollution. For that purpose, we performed different soil column studies to quantify soil leaching of selected fungicides (copper, dimethomorph, oxathiapiprolin, zoxamide, acibenzolar-s-methyl, and laminarin) following a rainfall event after a conventional fungicide vineyard application. Two types of vineyard soils (loam and sandy-loam soil textures) and three ground covers (bare ground, monoculture cover, and polyculture cover) were assessed. These studies were completed with hydroponic assays to check the effectiveness of cover roots in the fungicide degradation. Mass balance results show that whereas 3 fungicides (Cu, zoxamide, and dimethomorph) were leached through sandy soil columns, only copper was leached from loam soil columns. The effect of cover crops was only significant for Cu and zoxamide when fungicides were applied 24 h before the rain event, reducing the fungicide leaching by 30%. Hydroponic studies showed that cover roots enhanced the kinetic rates of almost all tested fungicides by 5-467%, suggesting that they are relevant to improving the degradation of fungicides in the soil column. These results are relevant to drawing up recommendations on the use of cover crops to protect soil and groundwater pollution by fungicides.
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