Microbial Biotransformation Products and Pathways of Dichloroacetamide Herbicide Safeners

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Monday, December 5, 2022
Monica E. McFadden
Keith P. Reber
John D. Sivey
David M. Cwiertny
Gregory H. LeFevre
Journal Title: 
Environmental Science & Technology Letters

Dichloroacetamide safeners are common ingredients in commercial herbicide formulations. We previously investigated the environmental fate of dichloroacetamides via photolysis and hydrolysis, but other potentially important, environmentally relevant fate processes remain uncharacterized and may yield products of concern. Here, we examined microbial biotransformation of two dichloroacetamide safeners, benoxacor and dichlormid, to identify products and elucidate pathways. Using aerobic microcosms inoculated with river sediment, we demonstrated that microbial biotransformations of benoxacor and dichlormid proceed primarily, if not exclusively, via cometabolism. Benoxacor was transformed by both hydrolysis and microbial biotransformation processes; in most cases, biotransformation rates were faster than hydrolysis rates. We identified multiple novel products of benoxacor and dichlormid not previously observed for microbial processes, with several products similar to those reported for structurally related chloroacetamide herbicides, thus indicating potential for conserved biotransformation mechanisms across both chemical classes. Observed products include monochlorinated species such as the banned herbicide CDAA (from dichlormid), glutathione conjugates, and sulfur-containing species. We propose a transformation pathway wherein benoxacor and dichlormid are first dechlorinated, likely via microbial hydrolysis, and subsequently conjugated with glutathione. This is the first study reporting biological dechlorination of dichloroacetamides to yield monochlorinated products in aerobic environments.


McFadden, M. E., Reber, K. P., Sivey, J. D., Cwiertny, D. M., & LeFevre, G. H. (2022). Microbial Biotransformation Products and Pathways of Dichloroacetamide Herbicide Safeners. Environmental science & technology letters. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.estlett.2c00862