• Springtails;
  • Glucosinolates;
  • Isothiocyanates;
  • Soil toxicity;
  • Biofumigation


Natural isothiocyanates (ITCs) are toxic to a range of pathogenic soil-living species, including nematodes and fungi, and can thus be used as natural fumigants called biofumigants. Natural isothiocyanates are hydrolysis products of glucosinolates (GSLs) released from plants after cell rupture. The study investigated the toxic effects of benzyl-GSL and its hydrolysis product benzyl-ITC on the springtail Folsomia fimetaria, a beneficial nontarget soil-dwelling micro-arthropod. The soil used was a sandy agricultural soil. Half-lives for benzyl-ITC in the soil depended on the initial soil concentration, ranging from 0.2 h for 67 nmol/g to 13.2 h for 3,351 nmol/g. For benzyl-ITC, the concentration resulting in 50% lethality (LC50) value for F. fimetaria adult mortality was 110 nmol/g (16.4 mg/kg) and the concentration resulting in 50% effect (EC50) value for juvenile production was 65 nmol/g (9.7 mg/kg). Benzyl-GSL proved to be less toxic and consequently an LC50 value for mortality could not be estimated for springtails exposed to benzyl-GSL. For reproduction, an EC50 value was estimated to approximately 690 nmol/g. The study indicates that natural soil concentrations of ITCs may be toxic to beneficial nontarget soil-dwelling arthropods such as springtails. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2010;29:359–364. © 2009 SETAC