Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Duane Matthees


Soil is a heterogenous mixture of humus and minerals containing both immobilized enzymes and occluded microbial cells. Each of the organic and mineral fractions in soil has a special influence on enzyme activity. Soil enzyme activity results from accumulated enzymes and from the enzymatic activity of proliferating microorganisms. Microbial populations have developed to the point that short residual times have occurred for an applied pesticide. The target pest is not controlled and these soils are referred to as “problem" soils. The objective of this study was to ascertain the relationship between soil enzyme activity and pesticide persistence in soils with a particular pesticide use history. One experiment involved a soil in which carbofuran failed to control insect infestation, apparently due to rapid degradation. This soil, the "Centerville" soil, was treated with several organophosphate and carbamate pesticides. The other experiment involved a soil from a region in Illinois with widespread isofenfos failure. The "Illinois" soil with several pesticide use histories was treated with isofenfos. Pesticide residue analyses and determinations of enzyme activities were then performed on the soils during the course of degradation. Rapid pesticide degradation and correlating high enzyme activity did occur in this study. There was also evidence that the process that produces a "problem" soil is reversible.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Soils -- Pesticide content
Pesticides -- Biodegradation



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - United State