Letter | Published:

Reduction of Parathion induced by Light

Abstract

WHILE investigating the decomposition of parathion (O,O-diethyl-O-p-nitrophenylphosphorothionate) I was able to confirm the findings of Ketelaar1 on the specific action of Cu2+-ions in catalysing the hydrolysis leading to p-nitrophenol. Other metal ions are ineffective, and the catalytic action of copper can be suppressed by various chelating agents2. The experiments were carried out at room temperature in a barbiturate milieu at pH 8.0 and lasted for more than four weeks. Change in concentration of parathion with a modified polarographic method was followed, and this permitted the estimation of parathion and simultaneously of the p-nitrophenol formed. In certain instances however, in solutions not containing the catalyst, a significant decrease of the polarographic wave of parathion was observed though the corresponding appearance of p-nitrophenol was not detected. Although in publications dealing with the degradation of parathion4 there is no allusion to the possibility of a spontaneous reduction, I have shown it to be induced by light.

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References

  1. 1

    Ketelaar, J. A. A., Nature, 177, 392 (1956).

  2. 2

    Sándi, E., Paper read at the 22nd Meeting of the Hungarian Physiological Society, Debrecen, July 1956 (in the press).

  3. 3

    Josepovits, G., and G.-Privitzer, K., Magy. Kém. F., 59, 161 (1953).

  4. 4

    Gar, K. A., Melnikov, N. N., and Mandelbaum, J. A., Dokl., 94, 729 (1954). Payton, J., Nature, 171, 355 (1953).

  5. 5

    Averell, P. R., and Norris, M. V., Anal. Chem., 20, 753 (1948). Clifford, P. A., J. Assoc. Agric. Chem., 34, 533 (1951).

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