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Atmospheric drift is considered a major loss path of pesticide from target areas, but there is still a large gap of knowledge regarding this complex phenomenon. Pesticide drift may occur during application (Primary drift) and after it (Secondary drift). The present study focuses on primary and secondary drift from ground applications in peach orchard (tree height of 3 m), under Mediterranean climate. Detailed and prolonged vertical drift profiles at close proximity to orchard are presented, together with detailed measurements of key meteorological parameters. The effect of volatility on drift was also studied by simultaneously applying two pesticides that differ in their volatility. Drifting airborne pesticides were detected both during and after applications at sampling distances of 7 and 20 m away from orchard edge. Concentrations ranged between hundreds ng m(-3) to a few μg m(-3) and showed clear decrease with time and with upwind conditions. Almost no decline in concentrations with height was observed up to thrice canopy height (i.e., 10 m). These homogeneous profiles indicate strong mixing near orchard and are in line with the unstable atmospheric conditions that prevailed during measurements. While air concentrations during pesticide application were higher than after it, overall pesticide load drifted from the orchard during primary and secondary drift are comparable. To the best of our knowledge this is the first work to show such large vertical dispersion and long duration of secondary drift following ground application in orchards. The obtained information indicates that secondary drift should not be neglected in exposure and environmental impact estimations.
PMID: 28314235 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]