Effect of combined application of methyl isothiocyanate and chloropicrin on their transformation

Wei Zheng, Scott R. Yates, Sharon K. Papiernik, Mingxin Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Combining several soil fumigants to increase the broad spectrum of pest control is a common fumigation practice in current production agriculture. In this study, we investigated the effect of combined application of chloropicrin and methyl isothiocyanate (MITC) on their transformations and persistence in the environment. In aqueous solution, no direct reaction between MITC and chloropicrin occurred and relatively slow rates of hydrolysis of these compounds were observed in aquatic environments free of suspended solids. The transformation of chloropicrin, however, was accelerated in aqueous solution with MITC because of a reduction reaction with bisulfide (HS-), which is a by-product of MITC hydrolysis. In soil, when fumigants were applied simultaneously, the degradation of MITC was suppressed under the bi-fumigant application due to the inhibition of soil microbial activity and a possible abiotic competition with chloropicrin for a limited number of reaction sites on the surface of soil particles. However, the degradation rate of chloropicrin was significantly enhanced in the bi-fumigant soil system, which was primarily attributed to the reaction of chloropicrin and HS-. Two sequential application approaches were developed to investigate the feasibility of the combined application of metam sodium (parent compound of MITC) and chloropicrin in soil and assess their potential effects on environmental fate. For both application sequences, the degradation of chloropicrin was accelerated and that of MITC, as a major breakdown product of metam sodium, was inhibited in soil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2157-2164
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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