Enantioselective degradation and chiral stability of pyrethroids in soil and sediment

Sujie Qin, Robert Budd, Svetlana Bondarenko, Weiping Liu, Jianying Gan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


Synthetic pyrethroids contain two or three chiral centers, making them a family of chiral pesticides with a large number of stereoisomers. Recent studies showed significant differences in aquatic toxicity between enantiomers from the same diastereomers of pyrethroids. To better understand the ecotoxicological effect and fate of pyrethroid insecticides, chirality in biodegradation must also be considered. In this study, we examined enantiomer compositions of selected pyrethroids in field sediment samples taken from various locations in southern California. Enantioselective degradation was frequently observed for cis-bifenthrin, permethrin, and cyfluthrin under field conditions. We further conducted long incubation experiments under laboratory-controlled conditions using single enantiomers of cis-bifenthrin, cis-permethrin, and cypermethrin. The half-lives for individual enantiomers were calculated to be 277-770 days for cis-bifenthrin enantiomers, 99-141 days for cis-permethrin enantiomers, and 52-135 days for cypermethrin enantiomers, respectively. The direction and degree of enantioselectivity in degradation were found to closely depend on the specific compound as well as experimental conditions. Because no significant difference in degradation was observed after samples were sterilized, the observed enantioselectivity may be attributed to preferential biological transformations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5040-5045
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Chiral
  • Degradation
  • Enantiomer
  • Enantioselective
  • Pyrethroids

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