You are here

11140006 PhD Persistence, Transformation and Fate of CIPC

Publication Date: 
1 July 2015
Author/Contact :
Gillian MacKinnon

Contractor :
Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC)

Full Research Project Title: Persistence, Transformation and Fate of CIPC in Commercial Stores
Duration: October 2014 - September 2018


Glasgow (SUERC), SBCSR


CIPC is widely used by the potato industry as a sprout suppressant on crops that are destined to be stored for significant periods of time. It is applied periodically as a fog into both bulk and box stores. A problem that arises from this practice is that CIPC can permeate the building fabric of the store. Unfortunately, even extensive cleaning of a store will not remove the residues entirely. Cross contamination of sensitive commodities housed in stores with a history of CIPC use has been reported previously. This problem is twofold, firstly when the stores are used for housing grains such as wheat and barley, fresh vegetables or seed potatoes, and secondly when the contamination from the store is manifested in grain to be used in the manufacturing of bread and biscuits. Many sensitive commodities are now being screened for pesticide residues, including CIPC. Current advice is that where there is any uncertainty or a history of potato storage or CIPC use, then the fabric of the building must be sampled and tested for CIPC residues.

Aims and Approach

Aim: To determine the persistence of CIPC contamination found in a range of stores and to develop strategies for decontamination.

This PhD studentship determined the extent of CIPC contamination found in stores, and studied the equilibrium, kinetic and thermodynamic processes involved in CIPC adsorption within building materials. In addition, a quantitative analytical method was developed for trace level CIPC analysis in a range of complex matrices including building materials such as concrete and wood and fresh commodities such as grain, fresh vegetables and seed potatoes. Alongside this, the route of and degree of cross-contamination of CIPC on sensitive commodities was investigated, together with the breakdown of CIPC under store conditions which allowed appropriate decontamination strategies to be developed.

Key Findings

Persistence and distribution of CIPC and 3-CA contamination in potato stores was quantified for the first time, improving our understanding of the behaviour of these chemicals.  The developed methods successfully demonstrated the persistence of CIPC and 3-CA in the concrete flooring of commercial potato stores. Depth distribution studies confirmed that concrete was pervious to CIPC and the degree of penetration may have been dependent on the physical nature of the concrete.

This study showed the majority of CIPC residues were found within the top one centimetre of concrete, providing an indication on the depth of concrete that would require removal or treatment to allow stores to be re-used, which is invaluable information for the development of decontamination strategies. This study has also demonstrated that risk assessments based on the concentration of CIPC in concrete from a single location in a store is prone to inaccuracies because CIPC levels in the concrete flooring are heterogeneous.

It was concluded that storage of grains, and other commodities with a Maximum Residue Level (MRL) set at the limit of quantification for CIPC, are at significant risk of cross contamination in buildings where CIPC has previously been applied. Due to the longevity of the chemical residues and the widespread contaminant distribution within the store environment, no ‘decontamination strategy fits all’ recommendation could be made at this stage.


Publication upload: 
How useful did you find this information?
Only logged in users can vote. Click on a star rating to show your choice, please note you can only vote once.
No votes yet