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Soil Sterilization for Pathogens by High Peak Voltage Nanosecond Electromagnetic Pulses


Soil fumigation is essential to control nematodes and soil-borne pathogens to produce a successful crop. Methyl Bromide has been the fumigant of choice, especially for nematodes; however, its ozone depletion contribution makes it less than ideal to continue to use, and is prohibited for use by EPA. Other legal chemical fumigants are not as effective and cost much more to apply to the soil. These other chemical fumigants also have some negative environmental impacts. Therefore, another method of fumigation is necessary to diminish the use of chemical fumigants while preventing crop losses for the farmers.


This technology provides a method of soil sterilization through high peak voltage nanosecond electromagnetic pulses. This is considered to be a “green” alternative to methyl bromide and other pesticide alternatives. The technology would provide a safe and cost-effective tractor implement that farmers could use to sterilize the soil before planting the seeds instead of utilizing pesticides. This technology would provide the minimum high peak voltage nanosecond electromagnetic wave pulse dose necessary to sterilize the soil comparable to currently utilized chemical fumigants.


Sterilize soil without chemicals.

Duke File (IDF) Number



  • Spiegel, Ronald
  • Joines, William

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Pratt School of Engineering