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Arsenic compounds have been used extensively in agriculture in the US for applications ranging from cotton herbicides to animal feed supplements. Roxarsone (3-nitro-4-hydroxyphenylarsonic acid), in particular, is used widely in poultry production to control coccidial intestinal parasites. It is excreted unchanged in the manure and introduced into the environment when litter is applied to farmland as fertilizer. Although the toxicity of roxarsone is less than that of inorganic arsenic, roxarsone can degrade, biotically and abiotically, to produce more toxic inorganic forms of arsenic, such as arsenite and arsenate. Experiments were conducted on aqueous litter leachates to test the stability of roxarsone under different...
In arid ecosystems, abiotic processes facilitate the physical and chemical degradation of plant litter to the extent that decomposition models that use climatic and litter composition variables as surrogates for microbial activity are not predictive. The purpose of this study was to estimate the potential contribution of photodegradation to the decomposition of plant litters that varies in architecture and chemical composition. Litter of Pinus edulis, Juniperus monosperma and Populus deltoides were exposed to ambient and attenuated sunlight, with and without supplemental water additions, at a riparian forest site along the Middle Rio Grande (New Mexico, USA). Mass loss, elemental composition, and microbial extracellular...