TIME AND TEMPERATURE EFFECTS ON DEGRADATION OF ISOTHIOCYANATES IN BIOFUMIGATION SYSTEMS

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  • 1 The University of Tennessee, Plant Sciences Department, 2431 Joe Johnson Drive, 252 Ellington PSB, Knoxville, TN, 37966-4561

Biofumigation is an alternative to traditional methods of soil sterilization such as methyl bromide. Biofumigation utilizes volatile, pesticidal compounds in soil incorporated plant material from various Brassica species. Three experiments were conducted to study the degradation of allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) generated from the breakdown of glucosinolates present in Oriental mustard (Brassica juncea L. Czerniak). Mustard seed meal was incorporated into a sandy clay loam soil in all experiments. In the first experiment, samples were hydrated and then held in an incubator at 20 ± 0.2 °C. Samples were taken periodically for 7 days or until AITC was not detectable. For the second experiment, hydrated samples were removed from the incubator after 4 hours and 5 mL of ethyl acetate was added. The samples were then placed in a refrigerator at 4 ± 0.2 °C and samples were taken periodically over 77 days. For the third experiment, samples were taken from a strawberry plot experiment grown in a randomized complete block design. Samples were taken and 5 mL of ethyl acetate was added. Then samples were placed into a cooler until returning to the laboratory. The incubator experiment was repeated and showed that the highest concentration of AITC occurred between 2 and 8 hours after hydration. The storage experiment showed a stable relationship between time and AITC degradation. AITC was still present after 77 days. The strawberry plot experiment showed rapid AITC degradation similar to the incubator experiment. Future research will be done to confirm the effects of temperature and glucosinolate content on the amount of allyl isothiocyanate present.

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