, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 491–501 | Cite as

Permeation of soil fumigants through agricultural plastic films



Plastic films are used in soil fumigation to control fumigant emission into the atmosphere. In previous studies it was shown that the plastic films are permeable to fumigant vapors. Virtually impermeable films (VIF) have been developed to reduce such emission and to increase the efficacy of pest control. A rapid, accurate, sensitive and simple method to measure the permeability of plastic films to soil fumigants that was developed in the present study is described in this paper. The method uses a static, closed system in which the tested film is fixed between two cells. The fumigant is sampled by a solid-phase microextraction method and measured quantitatively by gas chromatography. The method was used to assess the permeability of two plastic films — a low-density polyethylene film (LDPE) and a VIF — to commercial soil fumigants formulated individually or in mixtures. All the tested fumigants permeated through the commonly used LDPE film, in the following descending order of permeability: methyl isothiocyanate (MITC), methyl bromide (MBr), 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D; Telone), chloropicrin (CP). The VIF was impermeable to all the tested fumigants except MITC, the permeation of which was reduced by 40%. The permeation of some fumigants through LDPE films was influenced by the formulation used. The permeation of CP was increased when it was combined with MBr in Bromopic. With Telopic, a mixture of 1,3-D and CP, the permeation of 1,3-D through LDPE film was 62% greater than that of Telone, whereas that of CP was not affected. The permeation rates of both MBr and CP were 25–30% greater when they were formulated as a mixture in Bromopic than when they were formulated individually. The formulation of fumigants as mixtures of two components did not affect their permeability through VIF. This study showed that differences in the suitability of plastic films for soil fumigation can be measured easily in a laboratory. It also showed that the VIP was more effective than LDPE in reducing losses of fumigant to the atmosphere, thus allowing more efficient use of fumigants to manage soilborne pests. The presented method helps us to choose the most adequate film for optimizing fumigation efficacy, and reducing costs and environmental risks.

Key words

Soil fumigation soil fumigants permeation methyl bromide metam sodium chloropicrin 1,3-dichloropropene plastic film 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Anon. (1992) Standard test method for determining gas permeability characteristics of plastic film and sheeting. Annual Book of ASTM Standards, American Society for Testing and Materials. D 1434–1482.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Austerweil, M., Gamliel, A., Di Primo, P. and Steiner, B. (2002) Elucidation of the behavior of fumigants in soil by solid phase microextraction (SPME) and gas liquid chromatography (GC).Proc. 10th IUPAC Congress on Chemistry of Crop Protection (Basel, Switzerland), Vol. 2, p. 37.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Austerweil, M., Gamliel, A. and Steiner, B. (2002) Permeability of plastic films to soil fumigants: laboratory and field tests.Phytoparasitica 30:27 (abstr.).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Chai, M. and Pawliszyn, J. (1995) Analysis of environmental air samples by solid-phase microextraction and gas chromatography/ion trap mass spectrometry.Environ. Sci. Technol. 29:693–701.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cohen, R., Pivonia, S., Burger, Y., Edelstein, M., Gamliel, A. and Katan, J. (2000) Toward integrated management of Monosporascus wilt of melons in Israel.Plant Dis. 84:496–505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Daponte, T.L.F. (1995) Barrier films: Hytibar.Acta Hortic. 382:56–66.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Di Primo, P., Gamliel, A., Austerweil, M., Steiner, B., Beniches, M., Peretz-Alon, al. (2003) Accelerated degradation of metam-sodium and dazomet in soil: characterization and consequences for pathogen control.Crop Prot. 22:635–646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gamliel, A., Grinstein, A., Beniches, M., Katan. J., Pritsch, J. and Ducom, P. (1998) Permeability of plastic films to methyl bromide: a comparative laboratory study.Pestic. Sci. 53:141–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Gamliel, A., Grinstein, A., Klein, L., Cohen, Y. and Katan, J. (1998) Permeability of plastic films: field study.Crop Prot. 17:241–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gamliel, A., Grinstein, A., Peretz, Y., Klein, L., Nachmias, A., Tsror, al. (1997) Reduced dosage of methyl bromide for controlling Verticillium wilt of potato in experimental and commercial plots.Plant Dis. 81:469–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Gan, J., Becker, O.J., Ernst, F.F., Hutchinson, C., Knuteson, J.A. and Yates, S.R. (2000) Surface application of ammonium thiosulfate fertilizer to reduce volatilization of 1,3-dichloropropene from soil.Pest Manag. Sci. 56:264–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gan, J., Yates, S.R., Ernst, F.F. and Jury, W.A. (2000) Degradation and volatilization of the fumigant chloropicrin after soil treatment.J. Environ. Qual. 29:1391–1397Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Gan, J., Yates, S.R., Wang, D. and Ernst, F.F. (1998) Effect of application methods on 1,3-dichloropropene volatilization from soil under controlled conditions.J. Environ. Qual. 27:432–438.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Koziel, J.A. and Pawliszyn, J. (2001) Air sampling and analysis of volatile organic compounds with solid phase microextraction.J. Air Waste Manag. Assoc. 51:173–184.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Namiesnik, J., Zygmunt, B. and Jastrzebska, A. (2000) Application of solid-phase microextraction for determination of organic vapours in gaseous matrices.J. Chromatogr. A 885:405–418.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Nelson, S.D., Allen, L.H., Gan, J., Riegel, C., Dickson, D.W., Locascio al. (1999) Can virtually impermeable films reduce the amount of fumigant required for pest pathogen management in high value crops?Soil Crop Sci. Soc. Fla. Proc. 59:85–89.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Nelson, S.D., Riegel, C., Allen, L.H., Dickson, D.W., Gan, J., Locascio, al. (2001) Volatilization of 1,3-dichloropropene in Florida plasticulture and effects on fall squash production.J. Am. Soc. Hortic. Sci. 126:496–502.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Noling, J.W. and Becker, J.O. (1994) The challenge of research and extension to define and implement alternatives to methyl-bromide.J. Nematol. (Suppl.) 26:573–586.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    O’Malley, M., Barry, T., Verder-Carlos, M. and Rubin, A. (2004) Modeling of methyl isothiocyanate air concentrations associated with community illnesses following a metam-sodium sprinkler application.Am. J. Ind. Med. 46:1–15.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Papiernik, S.K., Ernst, F.F. and Yates, S.R. (2002) An apparatus for measuring the gas permeability of films.J. Environ. Qual. 31:358–361.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Papiernik, S.K., Yates, S.R. and Gan, J. (2001) An approach for estimating the permeability of agricultural films.Environ. Sci. Technol. 35:1240–1246.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Pawliszyn, J. and Liu, S. (1987) Sample introduction for capillary gas chromatography with laser desorption and optical fibres.Anal. Chem. 59:1475–1478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    UNEP (1998) Assessment of Alternatives to Methyl Bromide. Report of the Methyl Bromide Technical Option Committee, UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Wang, D. and Yates, S.R. (1999) Spatial and temporal distributions of 1,3-dichloropropene in soil under drip and shank application and implications for pest control efficacy using concentration-time index.Pestic. Sci. 55:154–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Wang, D., Yates, S.R., Ernst, F.F., Gan, J. and Jury, W.A. (1997) Reducing methyl bromide emission with a high barrier plastic film and reduced dosage.Environ. Sci. Technol. 31:3686–3691.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Yates, S.R. and Gan, J. (1998) Volatility, adsorption, and degradation of propargyl bromide as soil fumigant.J. Agric. Food Chem. 46:755–761.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Yates, S.R., Gan, J., Papiernik, S.K., Dungan, R. and Wang, D. (2002) Reducing fumigant emissions after soil application.Phytopathology 92:1344–1348.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory for Research on Pest Management Application, Inst. of Agricultural EngineeringARO, The Volcani CenterBet DaganIsrael

Personalised recommendations