Steam has long been used to disinfest greenhouse soils. However, there is increasing interest in expanding the use of steam for in-field soil disinfestation as an alternative to chemical fumigants. Previous studies demonstrated that allyl-isothiocyanate (AITC) reduced viability of weed seeds and plant pathogen propagules, but AITC has a low vapor pressure and is relatively immobile in soil. Heat has been used in the past to enhance the mobility of soil fumigants such as methyl bromide (i.e., “hot gassing”). The effect of steam heat on the mobility of AITC is unknown. The objective of this study was to investigate the potential synergistic effect of steam plus ATIC against weed seeds and a plant pathogen. AITC alone did not reduce the viability of the four weed species and the number of Verticillium dahliae microsclerotia. The steam + AITC treatment reduced the viability of V. dahliae at 12.5 and 18 cm distances by 82% and 88%, respectively, and knotweed and nettle seeds at 70 cm from injection point by 75% and 86%, respectively, from the center of microplots compared with steam alone. The results suggest that AITC and steam have a complementary effect on soilborne pests because steam increases the mobility of AITC.
Kim, Dong Sub; Hoffmann, Mark; Kim, Steven; Scholler, Bertha A.; and Fennimore, Steven A., "Integration of Steam with Allyl-isothiocyanate for Soil Disinfestation" (2020). Mathematics and Statistics Faculty Publications and Presentations. 20.