Atrazine movement in corn cultivated soil using HYDRUS-2D: A comparison between real and simulated data

Luciano Alves de Oliveira, Miranda Jarbas Honorio de, Katarina L. Grecco, Valdemar Luiz Tornisielo, Bryan L. Woodbury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Atrazine is an herbicide that is applied in corn around the world and in sugarcane in Brazil. It is known to be hazardous for animals' health, mobile in the soil, and its analysis is considered expensive and onerous. Solute movement studies are essential to provide information about dangerous molecules movement, which can avoid contamination. While field investigations demand time and financial resources, numerical models are an alternative to describe water and solute distribution in the soil profile. Thus, the objective of this work was to use HYDRUS 2-D model for simulations of atrazine movement in containers packed with tropical soil cultivated with corn and to compare simulated and observed data through statistical parameters. The research was carried out in a greenhouse during 116 days after planting. Atrazine was analyzed in the soil solution at three different depths to validate HYDRUS-2D. Simulations were carried out using hydraulic properties fitted directly to measured retention data and parameters for corn growing and atmospheric characteristics. The mixed procedure analysis indicated that there are differences in atrazine concentration among depths and along time. In general, atrazine concentration is higher at shallow depths and right after application. However, it is possible to find atrazine in deeper soil layers, which might be a concern regarding contamination. RMSE, Willmott and Pearson coefficients indicated a favorable capacity of the model to simulate atrazine concentration on corn cultivation. HYDRUS-2D is a reliable tool to obtain trends in atrazine movement under these experiment's conditions. The uptake parameters, the crop root growth and distribution parameters depend on further specific studies to better describe the relationship between the plant and atrazine and meteorological parameters need to be updated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109311
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
StatePublished - Oct 15 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Computational model
  • Contamination
  • Herbicide
  • Soil dynamics
  • Soil engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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