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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Influence of pH on the stereoselective degradation of the fungicides epoxiconazole and cyproconazole in soils.

Many pesticides are chiral and consist of two or more enantiomers/stereoisomers, which may differ in biological activity, toxicity, effects on nontarget organisms, and environmental fate. In the last few years, several racemic compounds have been substituted by enantiomer-enriched or single-isomer compounds ("chiral switch"). In this context, the stereoselective degradation in soils is an important part of a benefit-risk evaluation, but the understanding of the environmental factors affecting the chiral preferences is limited. In this study, the stereoselective degradation of the fungicides epoxiconazole and cyproconazole was investigated in different soils, selected to cover a wide range of soil properties. The fungicides were incubated under laboratory conditions and the degradation and configurational stability of the stereoisomers were followed over time using enantioselective GC-MS with a gamma-cyclodextrin derivative as chiral selector. In alkaline and slightly acidic soils, the degradation of epoxiconazole was clearly enantioselective, whereas in more acidic soils, both enantiomers were degraded at similar rates (overall half-lives 78-184 d). The enantioselectivity, expressed as ES = (k(i) - k(j))/ (k(i) + k(j)), ranged from -0.4 in alkaline soils (faster degradation of enantiomer j) to approximately 0 in acidic soils (non-enantioselective), and showed a reasonably linear correlation with the soil pH. The four stereoisomers of cyproconazole (overall half-lives 5-223 d) were also degraded at different rates in the various soils, but only the stereoselectivities between epimers showed some correlations with pH, whereas enantioselectivities did not. Both fungicides were configurationally stable in soils, i.e., no enantiomerization or epimerization was observed. Correlations between pH and ES have previously been reported for other pesticides (metalaxyl, dichlorprop, mecoprop), but the presence or absence of such correlations is not obviously linked to the pathways of degradation. It can be assumed that different microorganisms and enzymes are involved in the primary degradation of these compounds, but on which level soil pH has an influence on ES remains to be investigated.[1]


  1. Influence of pH on the stereoselective degradation of the fungicides epoxiconazole and cyproconazole in soils. Buerge, I.J., Poiger, T., Müller, M.D., Buser, H.R. Environ. Sci. Technol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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