Toxicity of Ethylene Glycol Vapors to Cucumbers

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706-1590
  • 2 Dynamac Corporation, Mail Code DYN-2, Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899

Vapors of ethylene glycol, 1,2 ethanediol, were found to cause serious injury to cucumbers in controlled-environment rooms in which this chemical was utilized for heat transfer. A chlorotic injury, which later became necrotic, occurred at the leaf apices and progressed along the margins to cause stunting and cupping of the leaves. High concentrations caused cessation of shoot growth and produced florets with short petals and stunted sepals. The source of the contaminating vapors appeared to be residual ethylene glycol from leaks over the years that had impregnated the floors or walls of the rooms. Activated charcoal or potassium permanganate filters installed in the circulating air stream of the rooms effectively prevented injury.

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