Main content area

Effect of application rate on chloropicrin half-life and simulated emissions across a range of soil conditions

Ashworth, Daniel J., Yates, Scott R.
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.682 pp. 457-463
air, air quality, application rate, chloropicrin, emissions, environmental factors, environmental health, fumigants, half life, human health, models, organic matter, soil quality, soil water content, toxicity
The volatile release of agricultural fumigants from soil to air is a critical concern in terms of human and environmental health. A major control on the release of fumigants from soil to air is their degradation rate within the soil; however, this is a function of human/soil/environmental conditions and their inter-relationships. For the common fumigant chloropicrin (CP), it is known that application rate has a marked effect on degradation rate, with a potential further influence on CP emissions. We conducted batch degradation studies to better understand how CP degradation rate changes in response to application rate (56, 224, 392kgha−1) under gradients of soil temperature (10, 25, and 40°C), soil moisture content (1, 8, and 15%), and organic matter content (1, 2, and 3%). A general trend of degradation rate decreasing with increasing application rate was observed across almost all such gradients, which is likely attributable to decreased microbial numbers and activity (i.e., degradation) at high (toxic) application rates. The effects of these ranges in degradation rate on emissions from soil to air were predicted using an analytical solution model, indicating that between the low and high application rates, total emissions percentage increased markedly (increases ranging from 69 to 99.8 percentage points, depending on prevalent conditions). The work will be useful to state and federal regulators in assessing the likely impact of CP use on air quality and human health.