Spencer Bonnerup

Photolysis of imazethapyr sorbed to cuticle wax of corn and soybeans

Chemistry, Dr. Nienow
About My Research:

The purpose of our research is to devise a method that we can use to detect the amounts of a common Midwestern pesticide, Imazethapyr, in wax samples using HPLC. The goal is to thenutilize it to detect the concentration of Imazethapyr in the waxes of corn and soybeans and its photo-decomponents as a function of time. The reason that this research matters is because we want to find out what the products are so that we, as a scientific community, can better understand the fate of the pesticides that we are applying to our fields. This is important because we should understand what we are potentially putting into our diets through our drinking water and food.

This research was funded by the 2009 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Fund.

In the student's own words :

"I think an advantage of doing research at Gustavus is that you have to opportunity as a first-year student to conduct hands-on research one-on-one with a Gustavus faculty member. You get to learn more about a particular field of study then you would have without this approach."

Professional Abstract:

Imazethapyr is an herbicide used commonly in Minnesota to control weeds in agricultural fields. The photolysis of imazethapyr yields products that haven’t been studied extensively. To date, photolysis of imazethapyr has been studied only in water samples. However, the photolysis products that form likely depend on the matrix in which the herbicide is located. Thus, the purpose of this research is to develop a method that can detect changes in concentration of imazethapyr sorbed into/onto the cuticle wax of corn and soybeans (a more likely environmental matrix for this herbicide). In particular, the concentration of imazethapyr will be monitored as a function of irradiation time. The initial tests with the method will inform us whether the kinetics of the reaction is the same in water and plant matrices. After the method is developed, it will be used to detect, isolate, and identify the photolysis products. Ultimately, we hope to determine what effect the photolysis products have on the water and ecosystem that they enter.


plant samples