Chemical Analysis of Southern Pine Pole Stubs Thirteen Months Following Treatment with Three Methylisothiocyanate Based Commercial Fumigants

IRG/WP 02-30294

R J Ziobro, T C Anderson, D J Herdman, J Guzzetta, T Pope

Agricultural fumigants have been commercially used in the United States for over 20 years to control internal decay in utility poles and other wooden structures. Of the four fumigants which are currently used in the remedial treatment of utility poles, three are based on methylisothiocyanate (MITC) as being the principal fungitoxic component. Two of these MITC based fumigants, liquid metham sodium and granular dazomet, chemically decompose within a utility pole to release methylisothiocyanate. The third MITC based fumigant consists of 97% methylisothiocyanate in a solid melt form. Laboratory and field studies conducted as part of the Cooperative Pole Research Program at Oregon State University have demonstrated the efficacy of all three MITC based fumigants. However, studies conducted to date have not evaluated the three fumigants under the same experimental conditions. As a result, a field study of the three commercial MITC based fumigants was established in June, 2000 in pentachlorophenol treated southern pine utility pole sections. At the first inspection conducted 13 months following fumigant treatment, chemical assay borings were removed at various pole heights and depths and analyzed for concentrations of MITC using GCMS. The 13 month results showed the concentrations of MITC were greatest at all pole heights and core depths in the pole stubs treated with the 97% MITC product. In addition, higher concentrations of MITC were found in the metham sodium versus dazomet treated pole stubs. The results of the initial sampling of the southern pine pole stubs are compared to results of the fumigant efficacy studies conducted at Oregon State University. In addition, the chemical assay results are compared to a proposed MITC threshold value based on the results of the Oregon State University fumigant studies. Future sampling and chemical analysis of the southern pine pole stubs are planned.

Keywords: Methylisothiocyanate, metham sodium, dazomet, southern pine poles, field studies, efficacy

Conference: 02-05-12/17 Cardiff, Wales, UK

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