Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2020PR351B

Atrazine and glyphosate monitoring in water streams and degradation using a novel TiO2-based biopolymer

Institute: Puerto Rico
Year Established: 2020 Start Date: 2020-03-01 End Date: 2021-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $23,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $50,212

Principal Investigators: Pedro Javier Tarafa

Abstract: Pesticides are toxic substances released intentionally into the environment to kill living things. The increase in the use of pesticides for agriculture activities has resulted in the presence of a variety of persistent contaminants in surface and ground waters, which compromise the water quality of these sources. This is particularly true for water bodies subject to surface runoff and/or groundwater flow from agricultural sites. Examples of these substances are glyphosate and atrazine. Both have shown health-related problems and, hence, the US EPA has set maximum contaminant levels (MCL) to regulate them. Puerto Rico (PR) is not exempt of this situation as it has several agricultural sites dedicated for crops and livestock. Previous studies conducted in PR has reported the detection of atrazine from coastal regions and more recent studies have detected the presence of atrazine degrading bacteria in water streams located in the Mayaguez area. This proposal aims to rise up a database for atrazine and glyphosate, in different streams close to crop sites along the Western region of PR. These sites could be Finca Perlaborincana in Añasco, Finca Alzamora in Mayaguez, and the Lajas Experimental Station. The project will consist in establishing a robust, reliable monitoring protocol and techniques for the detection and quantification of atrazine and glyphosate throughout the selected sites. We believe this study will serve as a tool to encourage more awareness of water quality impairment for the farmers, the scientific community to conduct more research, as well as for government and regulatory agencies and the people in general. In addition, we expect to provide support to one graduate student (MS level) and offer training to undergraduate students by enrollment in undergraduate research courses.