Diazinon [O,O-diethyl O-2-isopropyl-6-methyl(pyrimidine-4-yl) phosphorothioate] and imidacloprid [1-(1-[6-chloro-3-pyridinyl]methyl)-N-nitro-2-imidazolidinimine] are applied to lawns for insect control simultaneously with nitrogenous fertilizers such as urea, but their potential effect on urease activity and nitrogen availability in turfgrass management has not been evaluated. Urease activity in enzyme assays, washed cell assays, and soil slurries was examined as a function of insecticide concentration. Intact cores from field sites were used to assess the effect of insecticide application on urease activity in creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds.) and bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) sod. Bacterial urease fromBacillus pasteurii and plant urease from jack bean [Canavalia ensiformis (L.) DC.] were unaffected by the insecticides. Both insecticides inhibited the growth of Proteus vulgaris, a urease-producing bacterium, but only diazinon significantly reduced urease activity in washed cells; neither insecticide inhibited urease activity in sonicated cells. Neither diazinon nor imidacloprid inhibited urease activity in Woolper soil (fine, mixed, mesic Typic Argiudoll) slurries, but diazinon slightly inhibited urease activity in Maury soil (fine, mixed, semiactive, mesic Typic Paleudalf) slurries. Imidacloprid had no effect on urease activity in creeping bentgrass or bluegrass sod at up to 10 times the commercial application rate. Diazinon briefly, but significantly, reduced urease activity in bluegrass sod. Co-application of imidacloprid and urea appears to be benign with respect to urease activity in soil and sod. Diazinon, in contrast, appears to have a significant, short-term, inhibitory effect on the microbial urease-producing community, but that effect depends on soil type.

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Published in Journal of Environmental Quality, v. 34, no. 5, p. 1573-1580.

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