Factors Affecting Degradation of Aldicarb and Ethoprop

  • Russell L. Jones
  • Frank A. Norris


Chemical and microbial degradation of the nematicides-insecticides aldicarb and ethoprop has been studied extensively in both laboratory and field studies. These studies show that temperature is the most important variable affecting the degradation rate of aldicarb and its carbamate metabolites in surface soils. Temperature and organic matter appear to be the most important variables affecting degradation rates of ethoprop in soils under normal agricultural conditions, with organic matter being inversely related to degradation, presumably due to increased binding to soil particles. Soil moisture may be important under some conditions for both compounds, with degradation reduced in low-moisture soils. The rate of degradation of aldicarb residues (aldicarb + aldicarb sulfoxide + aldicarb sulfone) does not seem to be significantly affected by depth from soil surface, except that aldicarb residues degrade more slowly in acidic, coarse sand subsoils. Degradation of ethoprop also continues in subsurface soils, although field data are limited due to its lower mobility. Both compounds degrade in groundwater. Because microbial activity decreases with depth below soil surface, chemical processes are important components of the degradation of both aldicarb residues and ethoprop. For aldicarb, transformation to carbamate oxides in surface soils is primarily microbial, while degradation to noncarbamate compounds appears to be primarily the result of soil-catalyzed hydrolysis throughout the soil profile. For ethoprop, both chemical and microbial catalyzed hydrolysis are important in surface soils, with chemical hydrolysis becoming more important with increasing depth. Key words: aldicarb, degradation, enhanced degradation, ethoprop, nematicide, nematode, soil.