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Heterogeneous Photochemistry of Agrochemicals at the Leaf Surface: A Case Study of Plant Activator Acibenzolar-S-methyl

Sleiman, M., de Sainte Claire, P., Richard, C.
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2017 v.65 no.35 pp. 7653-7660
abiotic stress, acibenzolar-S-methyl, agrochemicals, apples, case studies, desorption, dimethyl disulfide, free radicals, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, glass, half life, hydroxyl radicals, ionization, irradiation, leaves, liquid chromatography, methanethiol, models, photolysis, surfactants, volatile compounds
The photoreactivity of plant activator benzo(1,2,3)thiadiazole-7-carbothioic acid S-methyl ester (BTH), commonly named acibenzolar-S-methyl, was studied on the surfaces of glass, paraffinic wax films, and apple leaves. Experiments were carried out in a solar simulator using pure and formulated BTH (BION). Surface photoproducts were identified using liquid chromatography coupled with electrospray ionization and high-resolution Orbitrap mass spectrometry, while volatile photoproducts were characterized using an online thermal desorption system coupled to a gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) system. Pure BTH degraded quickly on wax surfaces with a half-life of 5.0 ± 0.5 h, whereas photolysis of formulated BTH was 7 times slower (t₁/₂ = 36 ± 14 h). On the other hand, formulated BTH was found to photolyze quickly on detached apple leaves with a half-life of 2.8 h ± 0.4 h. This drastic difference in photoreactivity was attributed to the nature and spreading of the BTH deposit, as influenced by the surfactant and surface characteristics. Abiotic stress of irradiated apple leaf was also shown to produce OH radicals which might contribute to the enhanced photodegradability. Eight surface photoproducts were identified, whereas GC–MS analyses revealed the formation of gaseous dimethyl disulfide and methanethiol. The yield of dimethyl disulfide ranged between 1.5% and 12%, and a significant fraction of dimethyl disulfide produced was found to be absorbed by the leaf. This is the first study to report on the formation of volatile chemicals and OH radicals during agrochemical photolysis on plant surfaces. The developed experimental approach can provide valuable insights into the heterogeneous photoreactivity of sprayed agrochemicals and could help improve dissipation models.