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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Laboratory-Scale Measurements and Simulations of Effect of Application Methods on Soil Methyl Bromide Emission


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 26 No. 1, p. 310-317
    Received: Jan 30, 1996

    * Corresponding author(s): jgan@ussl.ars.usda.gov
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  1. J. Gan ,
  2. S. R. Yates,
  3. W. F. Spencer,
  4. M. V. Yates and
  5. W. A. Jury
  1. USDA-ARS Soil Physics and Pesticides Research Unit, U.S. Salinity Laboratory, Riverside, CA 92507
    Dep. of Soil and Environmental Sciences, Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521



Methyl bromide (bromomethane, MeBr), which originates from the oceans, fumigation, and a few other sources, is reportedly contributing to the ozone depletion in the stratosphere. Due to the heavy reliance on this fumigant in the production of many crops, it is of particular importance to accurately quantify the atmospheric input of MeBr arising from agricultural uses, and develop feasible measures to minimize these emissions. In this study, we determined the effect of two important application variables, surface tarp and injection depth, on MeBr transport and transformation in the soil and its emission from the soil surface under controlled conditions. Following 20- and 30-cm injections, covering the soil surface with 1-mil (0.025 mm) high-density polyethylene film resulted in an average of 48% reduction in MeBr emission. Increasing the injection depth from 20 to 60 cm caused a decrease in MeBr emission of 54% under untarped conditions and 40% under tarped conditions. The influence of application methods on MeBr atmospheric emissions should be considered when estimating the contribution of agricultural fumigation to the overall atmospheric MeBr burden on a global scale. The results also indicate that MeBr emission after soil fumigation may be substantially minimized by using surface tarpaulins and deep injections.

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