The fate of glyphosate and its metabolite aminomethyl phosphonic acid (AMPA) in the urban environment

Anna Lewis
Auckland Council Research and Evaluation Unit, RIMU
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Emerging contaminants (ECs) are contaminants that are not commonly monitored, have only been recently detected and whose effects in the environment are largely unknown. ECs include pharmaceuticals, herbicides, flame retardants and illicit substances. They are present in urban environments (soil, sewage and stormwater systems, freshwater and marine environments) in mostly unknown quantities. In New Zealand, EC research is new with little known about the concentrations of ECs present. Glyphosate, a common herbicide is used extensively throughout urban Auckland, yet little is known about its presence and fate in the environment. This makes it an emerging contaminant.

Glyphosate degrades into its primary metabolite aminomethyl phosphonic acid (AMPA) via microbial action. Both compounds are typically persistent and immobile, with the toxicity of glyphosate conflicted in the literature and the toxicity of AMPA currently unknown. Glyphosate and AMPA research is mostly limited to agricultural soils, wastewater and groundwater where their presence may have an impact on human health. From my investigations I was unable to find any research on its presence and biochemical fate in the urban soils environment. Glyphosate use is likely to increase as urbanisation increases so it is necessary to characterise it and AMPA to gain an understanding of their presence.

RIMU masters student research summary

MSc thesis, University of Auckland

Fate of glyphosate and its metabolite AMPA in the urban environment

Last updated: 2018-08-20