Evaluation of the use of sulphuryl fluoride (Profume) in the malting industry in the United Kingdom


Cereals & Oilseeds
Project code:
01 May 2005 - 31 May 2005
AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds.
AHDB sector cost:
£2,543 from HGCA (Project No. 2902).
Project leader:
T J Wontner-Smith Central Science Laboratory, Sand Hutton, York YO41 1NZ UK



About this project


A literature review was undertaken to evaluate the potential of sulphuryl fluoride (SF) for use in the malting industry. Searches revealed a total of 915 references for SF, of which 59 were relevant to this review.

Sulphuryl fluoride is currently registered for use in structures such as flour mills and food manufacturing premises in the United Kingdom under the trade name Profume®. A number of studies have shown SF to be an effective replacement for methyl bromide (MB) in these situations. However, in the United Kingdom heating is required to maintain the temperature at 25oC to improve efficacy in order to make a 24 hour treatment possible.

There is no evidence that sorption of SF or corrosion due to SF should give any cause for concern. However, there is a need to determine the level of fluoride and sulphate residues likely to be encountered if SF is to be used on malt or barley.

Unfortunately there are no plans to extend the registration of Profume® to cover malt or barley and so, unless the manufacturers can be persuaded of a commercial advantage in extending the registration beyond their current plans, the use of SF in the malting industry would be limited to the fumigation of structures empty of barley and malt.


The malting industry in the United Kingdom relies on phosphine for the control of storage pests. However, the misuse of phosphine has led to the development of phosphine resistant strains of insects in many countries (Champ and Dyte, 1976). With the withdrawal of methyl bromide (MB), and the consequent increasing reliance on phosphine, the level of resistance is likely to increase. The withdrawal of MB will also remove the method of first choice of dealing with phosphine resistant insects.  There is therefore a need to investigate alternative fumigants.

One such alternative is sulphuryl fluoride (SF) which is a fumigant manufactured by Dow Agrosciences (Dow) that has been used for termite control under the trade name Vikane since the 1950s. 

It has now been registered for use in flour mills in the United Kingdom under the trade name Profume®. 

The purpose of this review is to evaluate the literature available on SF, with a view towards its use in the malting industry.