EGU2020-8242, updated on 12 Jun 2020
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Integrated approach for evaluating sources and apportionment of agro-contaminants in soil and water bodies

Joseph Adu-Gyamfi, Lee Heng, and Janine Halder
Joseph Adu-Gyamfi et al.
  • International Atomic Energy Agency, Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, Vienna, Austria (

Water pollution from agricultural activities has direct negative impacts on human health, as the well-known blue-baby syndrome —a potentially fatal illness —deriving from nitrate intake in infants. Inefficient farming practices, farming systems discharge large quantities of agrochemicals, organic matter, drug residues, sediments, and saline drainage into water bodies results in pollution poses demonstrated risks to aquatic ecosystem, human health and productive activities including agriculture. In order to design effective remediation strategies there is a need to target sources of excess nutrients, and sediments in an efficient way. Standard operating procedures (SOP) that provides step-by step instructions on how to collect, prepare and prepare soil samples from agriculture watersheds for multi-isotope analysis were evaluated and standardized in agricultural catchments in Asia (Australia, China, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam), Europe (Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Romania, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom) and Africa (Morocco and Ghana) in a coordinated research project managed by the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. The δ18O, δ2H, δ15N-NO3, δ18O-NO3 stable isotope values in water samples were used to apportion the contributions of the different sources (chemical fertilizers, organic fertilizers from livestock, and rural domestic sewerage). The compound specific isotope analysis (CSIA)-based monitoring approach (δ13C and δ15N) was used to evaluate in-situ degradation, transport, transformation and fate of pesticides. Information gained will fill knowledge gaps for catchment scale predictive models and provide guidelines and decision trees to develop an isotopic analytical toolbox that could be adapted to different agricultural management situations.

How to cite: Adu-Gyamfi, J., Heng, L., and Halder, J.: Integrated approach for evaluating sources and apportionment of agro-contaminants in soil and water bodies , EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-8242,, 2020


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