Journal of agricultural and food chemistry

Soil photolysis in a moisture- and temperature-controlled environment. 2. Insecticides.

PMID 15113166


The photolytic degradations of imidacloprid, carbofuran, diazinon, chlorpyrifos, pyridaben, propoxur, and esfenvalerate were independently compared in both moist (75% field moisture capacity at 0.33 bar) and air-dry microbially viable soils at 5 microg/g. All compounds were applied to sandy soil except for propoxur, which was applied to sandy loam soil. Diazinon was applied to both sandy soil and sandy loam soil. The samples were exposed for up to 360 h, depending on the half-life of the compound. Moisture and temperature were maintained through the use of a specially designed soil photolysis apparatus. Corresponding dark control studies were performed concurrently. With the exception of esfenvalerate, the other compounds exhibited significantly shorter half-lives in moist soils, attributed to the increased hydrolysis and microbial activity of the moist soil. The esfenvalerate metabolism was not first order due to limited mobility in the soil because of its very low water solubility. The overall half-life for esfenvalerate was 740 h, as the percent remaining did not drop below 60%. The imidacloprid half-life in irradiated moist soil was 1.8 times shorter than in air-dry soils. However, on dry soil the photodegradation showed poor first-order kinetics after 24 h of exposure. The metabolism of carbofuran and diazinon was highly dependent on soil moisture. Carbofuran exhibited 2.2 times longer half-lives when less moisture was available in the soil. Diazinon in moist sandy soil degraded rapidly, but slowed significantly in irradiated and dark control air-dry sandy soil. Diazinon photolysis on sandy loam soil was not first order, as it attained a constant concentration of 54.9%, attributed to decreased mobility in this soil. Chlorpyrifos photolysis was 30% shorter on moist sand than on air-dry sand. Pyridaben photolyzed rapidly throughout the first 72 h of irradiation but maintained 48% through 168 h. Propoxur metabolism in moist sandy loam soil was not first order and did not degrade below 50% after 360 h of exposure, but the overall half-life was still nearly half of that on irradiated air-dry soil. Three of the compounds showed differences in metabolism patterns during exposure on moist or air-dry soil. Typically, the moist soils produced a more linear decline than that seen in the dry soils, corresponding to the susceptibility of the particular chemical to hydrolysis and/or biodegradation. Four of the eight experiments had shorter half-lives in dark control moist soils than in irradiated dry soils.