pH dependence and unsuitability of fluorescein dye as a tracer for pesticide mobility studies in acid soil
The mobility of fluorescein and bromide used as tracers in packed soil columns was investigated.
Five different soils were used in two application methods: soil surface application and soil incorporation, both of which simulate accepted methods of soil application of termiticides to prevent structural infestation. The breakthrough of bromide and fluorescein in column eluates were measured. The absorbance of fluorescein at 492 nm was pH dependent, and proper adjustments were made after measuring the eluate pH. Although high recoveries of bromide from the soil columns were observed, the breakthrough was different among the soil types, indicating that bromide behaves differently in different soils. Recovery of fluorescein, a weak acid, varied depending upon the pH of the soil used, and was only observed in the eluates of two of the five soils tested. Soil treated with bromide and fluorescein followed by soaking extraction showed high recovery of bromide but low recovery of fluorescein, except for in the most alkaline of the soils tested. If fluorescein is used as a conservative tracer in pesticide soil mobility studies, mobility can be underestimated in acidic soils because the active ingredient might travel more quickly than does the fluorescein.