Nature Communications paper links copper & stratospheric ozone

(Jan 10, 2022) Yi’s paper on copper and methyl halides was published today. UCB press release.

Yi Jiao’s study (‘Application of copper(II)-based chemicals induces CH3Br and CH3Cl emissions from soil and seawater’, by Yi Jiao, Wanying Zhang, Jae Yun Robin Kim, Malte Julian Deventer, Julien Vollering, and Robert C. Rhew, Nature Communications, 2022) shows that application of copper chemicals to agricultural soils and seawater induces production of CH3Br and CH3Cl, major ozone depleting compounds. Cu compounds are fungicides and pesticides that are used extensively in both conventional and organic agriculture. With the widespread use of copper in the environment, this potentially growing impact should be considered when predicting future halogen load and ozone recovery.
The full paper is available here with open access –

This is an important paper that puts a spotlight on an unexpected and previously unknown environmental consequence of copper application in the environment, and the mechanism of methyl halide production is very large such that it could contribute significantly to the ‘missing’ sources of these compounds.

Yi Jiao (PhD 2021) conducted this work as part of his dissertation research and is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Copenhagen. Robin Kim and Julien Vollering were undergraduate researchers who conducted work as part of their senior theses. Julian Deventer was a post-doctoral researcher in our laboratory, and Wanying Zhang was a visiting graduate student to our laboratory.

Bordeaux mixture on grapes Photo credit: CC BY-SA 3.0

Robert Rhew
Robert Rhew
Associate Professor

Professor Rhew is the Principal Investigator of the UC Berkeley Atmospheric Biogeochemistry Lab