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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 5, p. 1630-1635
    Received: Oct 27, 2000

    * Corresponding author(s): hsuter@mira.net
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Sorption and Degradation Characteristics of Phosmet in Two Contrasting Australian Soils

  1. H. C. Suter *,
  2. R. E. White,
  3. L. K. Heng and
  4. L. A. Douglas
  1. School of Resource Management, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia


The organophosphate insecticide phosmet [phosphorodithioic acid, s-((1,3-dihydro-1,3-dioxo-2H-isoindol-2yl)methyl), o,o-dimethyl ester] is used to control red-legged earth mites (Halotydeus destructor), lucerne flea (Sminthurus viridis), and Oriental fruit moth (Cydia molesta) in horticulture and vegetable growing. This study was undertaken with two soils of contrasting properties to determine the extent to which sorption and degradation of the insecticide might influence its potential to leach from soil into receiving waters. Two soils were used: a highly organic, oxidic clay soil (Ferrosol) and a sandy soil low in organic matter (Podosol), sampled to 0.3 m depth. The extent of sorption and decomposition rate of a phosmet commercial formulation were measured in laboratory experiments. Sorption followed a Freundlich isotherm at all depths. The Freundlich coefficient K was significantly correlated (p = 0.005) with organic C content in the Podosol, and significantly correlated (p = 0.005) with organic C and clay content in the Ferrosol. K was highest (48.8 L kg−1) in the 0- to 0.05-m depth of the Ferrosol, but lowest (1.0 L kg−1) at this depth in the Podosol. Degradation followed first-order kinetics, with the phosmet half-life ranging from 14 h (0–0.05 m depth) to 187 h (0.2–0.3 m depth) in the Ferrosol. The half-life was much longer in the sandy Podosol, ranging from 462 to 866 h, and did not change significantly with depth. Soil organic C and to a lesser degree clay content influenced phosmet sorption and degradation, but the interaction was complex and possibly affected by co-solvents present in the commercial formulation.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:1630–1635.