The catabolic activity with respect to the systemic herbicide isoproturon was determined in soil samples by 14C-radiorespirometry. The first experiment assessed levels of intrinsic catabolic activity in soil samples that represented three dissimilar soil series under arable cultivation. Results showed average extents of isoproturon mineralisation (after 240 h assay time) in the three soil series to be low. A second experiment assessed the impact of addition of isoproturon (0.05 µg kg-1) into these soils on the levels of catabolic activity following 28 days of incubation. Increased catabolic activity was observed in all three soils. A third experiment assessed levels of intrinsic catabolic activity in soil samples representing a single soil series managed under either conventional agricultural practice (including the use of isoproturon) or organic farming practice (with no use of isoproturon). Results showed higher (and more consistent) levels of isoproturon mineralisation in the soil samples collected from conventional land use. The final experiment assessed the impact of isoproturon addition on the levels of inducible catabolic activity in these soils. The results showed no significant difference in the case of the conventional farm soil samples while the induction of catabolic activity in the organic farm soil samples was significant. Dissimilar levels of isoproturon catabolic activity in dissimilar soils and soils under dissimilar land use influence inferred risk.