Enhanced Degradation of the Volatile Fumigant-Nematicides 1,3-D and Methyl Bromide in Soil

  • L.-T. Ou


The use of the gaseous funaigant-nematicide methyl bromide in agriculture is scheduled to be phased out in the year 2001.1,3-Dichloropropene (1,3-D) in combination with chloropicrin and an herbicide is considered to be a viable alternative to methyl bromide for some crops. 1,3-Dichloropropene consists of two isomers, cis- and trans-l,3-D. A number of soil bacteria have been shown to initially degrade 1,3-D or one of its isomers, cis-l,3-D, via hydrolysis. Until recently, the degradation of cis- and trans-l,3-D in soils was considered to exhibit similar kinetics, witla their degradation rates increasing with increases in soil temperature. Enhanced degradation of 1,3-D in soil from a site in Florida with a history of repeated annual applications of 1,3-D was observed in 1994. Biological hydrolysis was involved in the initial degradation of cis- and trans-l,3-D. The two isomers were degraded at different rates, with the trans isomer being degraded more rapidly than the cis isomer. Cis- and trans-l,3-D in soil from the control site were degraded at a similar rate but more slowly than in the enhanced soil. Methyl bromide in soils can be degraded through chemical hydrolysis and methylation to soil organic matter. Some methanotrophic bacteria and ammonia-oxidation bacteria during the oxidation of their primary substrates (methane and ammonia) also have the capacity to cooxidize methyl bromide to formaldehyde and bromide ion. It was recently observed that degradation of methyl bromide was stimulated in methanotrophic soils and in soils treated with ammonium sulfate. Soil methanotrophic bacteria and soil nitrifiers are apparently responsible for cooxidation of methyl bromide in methanotrophic and ammonia treated soils, respectively. Key words: cis-l,3-D, degradation, enhanced soil, fumigant, methyl bromide, nematicide, nematode, nonfumigant, 1,3-D, 1,3-dichloropropene, Telone II, trans-l,3-D.