A novel radical trapping technique combined with a fluorescence spectroscopic analysis has been employed to investigate the radical intermediates produced by photodecarboxylation of four synthetic pyrethroids: fenvalerate (SMD), fenpropathrin (DTL), cyphenothrin (GKL), and cypermethrin (AGT). Under photoirradiation at >290 nm, all pyrethroids underwent direct photolysis via homolytic cleavage of the carbon–oxygen bonds in the ester groups. The consumed amount of a nitroxide free radical, as a trapping agent for the intermediate radical of a pyrethroid, was determined by ESR, which was the measure of the reaction yield of a photochemically generated α-cyano-3-phenoxybenzyl radical common to all pyrethroids. The reactivities of the pyrethroids studied was in the sequence of SMD ≫ DTL > GKL > AGT. Furthermore, nanosecond transient absorption spectroscopy demonstrated that geminate recombination of the radical pair within a solvent cage is the main deactivation route of the photochemically generated α-cyano-3-phenoxybenzyl radical common for all pyrethroids studied.
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