14-17 May 2018
New Orleans
US/Central timezone

Mixing effects in agrochemical biodegradation networks in variably saturated soils

14 May 2018, 15:01
New Orleans

New Orleans

Oral 20 Minutes MS 1.04: Upscaling of mixing, dispersion and reaction processes from pore to continuum scale Parallel 2-A


Dr Giovanni Porta (Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Politecnico di Milano)


Few current bioreactive transport solvers currently provide a comprehensive mechanistic description of biogeochemical cycles and allow easy integration of all the involved processes, including flow in variably saturated media, solute transport and kinetic/equilibrium biochemical reactions. The parameterization of these processes is particularly challenging since our knowledge of model parameters and of their spatial heterogeneity is typically incomplete. Therefore, it is crucial to study the impact of each process and related parameters uncertainty in the outputs of interest.
In this communication, we consider reaction networks describing biochemical degradation of herbicides, atrazine and glyphosate (la Cecilia and Maggi, 2017a, 2017b). In particular, we quantify the degradation potential and accumulation of toxic substances and we study the biomass and ecological structure dynamics in soil and groundwater. Our discussion encompasses the assessment of model outputs sensitivity on the identified model structure and related parameters. We focus on the effects of local mixing, which entails the full characterization of spatial and temporal fluctuations of solutes concentration within the time-space domain. We frame these analyses in terms of dimensionless parameters describing the integrated processes of interest, i.e., fluid flow, solute transport, and biogeochemical reactions and we identify global trends and statistical indicators to characterize the system at steady state. This work will address system nonlinearities linked to the interplay of diverse processes with the aim of increasing our understanding of dominant mechanisms involved in agrochemicals bioreactive transport.


la Cecilia D., F. Maggi. Analysis of glyphosate degradation in a soil microcosm, Environmental Pollution 233, 201-207, (2017a).
la Cecilia D., F. Maggi, In-situ atrazine biodegradation dynamics in wheat (triticum) crops under variable hydrologic regime, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology 203 104–121 (2017b).

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Primary authors

Dr Giovanni Porta (Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Politecnico di Milano) Mr Daniele la Cecilia (School of Civil Engineering, The University of Sydney) Dr Fiona Tang (School of Civil Engineering, The University of Sydney) Prof. Monica Riva (Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile e Ambientale (DICA), Politecnico di Milano) Dr Federico Maggi (School of Civil Engineering, The University of Sydney)

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