- Bromomethane, commonly known as methyl
bromide, is an organobromine compound with formula CH3Br.
- It is colorless, odorless, nonflammable
gas is produced both industrially and particularly biologically.
- It has a tetrahedral shape and it is a
recognized ozone-depleting chemical.
- Bromomethane is found in the ocean, where
it is most likely formed by algae and kelp. Other names for bromomethane
include methyl bromide, mono-bromomethane, and methyl fume.
- It is also produced in small
quantities by certain terrestrial plants, such as members of the
Brassicaceae family. It is manufactured for agricultural and
industrial use by reacting methanol with hydrogen bromide.
- The Methyl Bromide Recapture System
limits the maximum concentration of methyl bromide emitted in to the
atmosphere to 500 ppm, and reduces emissions during fumigation by up
- Methyl bromide, which has been in
widespread use for some 30 years, is used for all types of
stored dry foodstuffs, particularly for produce in bags, cases
or other packages.
- Its use for large loose bulks of
foodstuff, when it may be used alone or in admixture with
ethylene dibromide or with carbon tetrachloride, is more
- It is also used for the treatment
of soil before sowing or planting, especially in glasshouses,
against nematodes, weeds and other organisms and also in plant
quarantine operations, including disinfestation of fresh fruit
- Bromomethane is also a precursor
in the manufacture of other chemicals as a methylating agent,
and has been used as a solvent to extract oil from seeds and
- The United States, Italy,
Japan, Israel, and Spain are the largest consumers of methyl
bromide for pre-plant soil applications. Together, these
countries comprise nearly 70 percent of methyl bromide
consumption for this end use.
- In the U.S., about 21,000 tons
of methyl bromide are used annually in agriculture,
primarily for soil fumigation, as well as for commodity and
quarantine treatment, and structural fumigation. Globally,
about 72,000 tons are used each year, with North American
use the highest (38%), followed by Europe (28%), Asia (22% -
includes Israel and the Mid-East), with South America and
Africa combined using the least (12%).
- Methyl bromide is one of the
top five most widely used pesticides in the world today.
Eighty seven percent of methyl bromide is used by farmers
prior to planting to eradicate all fungus, nematodes,
microorganisms, and weeds from the soil to avoid destruction
of the crop.
- In the U.S., methyl bromide is
used mainly for tomato, strawberry, and bell pepper crops.
California is the largest user, followed by Florida.
- In Australia, bromomethane
(methyl bromide) is the preferred fumigant required by the
Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) for most
organic goods imported into Australia.
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