Recent studies have observed enhanced degradation of methyl isothiocyanate (MITC) from repeated fumigation in agricultural soils. Little is known about fumigant degradation in forest and nursery soils. This study was conducted to determine degradation rates of MITC and chloropicrin (CP) in two forest soils and the impacts of nursery management on degradation of MITC and CP. The half-life values of MITC and CP were evaluated in the laboratory under isothermal conditions (22 +/- 2 degrees C). Three rates representing 0.5x, 1x, and 2x field application rates for each fumigant were used in laboratory incubations. Effect of microbial degradation was determined by conducting incubations with both fresh and sterilized soils. Soil moisture effects were also studied. There was no difference in MITC or CP degradation between fumigated and nonfumigated forest nursery soils. Soil sterilization and high soil moisture content (15% by wt.) reduced MITC and CP degradation. The degradation rates of MITC and CP varied with factors such as nursery history, fumigant application rates, and freshness of tested soils.
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