The disappearance of rotenone on olives under field conditions was studied. The field data showed that rotenone residues on olives decreased with a half-life (t(1/2)) of 4.0 days. After pre-harvest time (10 days) the residues were higher than the maximum residue level fixed in Italy (0.04 mg/kg). Experiments with model systems showed that the mechanism of disappearance of rotenone is not related to evaporation, thermodegradation, or co-distillation, but only to photodegradation. When the olives were processed for oil, the residues in the oil were higher than the residues on the olives by a factor of 2.4-4.8.
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