This study elucidates the effect of fluctuating soil moisture on the co-metabolic degradation of atrazine (6-chloro-N(2)-ethyl-N(4)-isopropyl-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine) in soil. Degradation experiments with (14)C-ring-labelled atrazine were carried out at (i) constant (CH) and (ii) fluctuating soil humidity (FH). Temperature was kept constant in all experiments. Experiments under constant soil moisture conditions were conducted at a water potential of -15kPa and the sets which were run under fluctuating soil moisture conditions were subjected to eight drying-rewetting cycles where they were dried to a water potential of around -200kPa and rewetted to -15kPa. Mineralization was monitored continuously over a period of 56d. Every two weeks the pesticide residues in soil pore water (PW), the methanol-extractable pesticide residues, the non-extractable residues (NER), and the total cell counts were determined. In the soil with FH conditions, mineralization of atrazine as well as the formation of the intermediate product deisopropyl-2-hydroxyatrazine was increased compared to the soil with constant humidity. In general, we found a significant correlation between the formation of this metabolite and atrazine mineralization. The cell counts were not different in the two experimental variants. These results indicate that the microbial activity was not a limiting factor but the mineralization of atrazine was essentially controlled by the bioavailability of the parent compound and the degradation product deisopropyl-2-hydroxyatrazine.