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  • 白蚁能否分泌蚁酸?
  • 谭速进
    (成都市白蚁防治研究所,成都610016)
    [摘要] 通过充足的文献文献资料分析阐述了白蚁不能分泌蚁酸的事实,纠正了白蚁分泌蚁酸的谬误。提出白蚁活动造成钢筋混凝土和其他硬物表面腐蚀的可能原因是因为白蚁活动中排泄大量的二氧化碳。
    [关键词] 蚁酸;白蚁;钢筋混凝土;腐蚀
     
    Are there formic acid secretion from termites
    Tan Sujin
    (Chengdu institute of termite control, Chengdu, 610016, China)
    Abstract: It was elaborated by adequate literature analysis that termites could not secrete formic acid and corrected a general fallacy that termites could secrete this kind of material. It was reasonabe to assume that the corrosion of concrete, metal or other things with hard surface would be caused by CO2 excreted from termites.
    Key words: formic acid; termite; concrete; metal; corrosion
     
        蚁酸(Formic acid)即甲酸(methane acid),化学式为HCOOH。因该物质最早是1670年由John Wray[1]通过蒸馏一种红蚂蚁(Formic rufa)得到的,故而得名。自然界的蚁酸广泛存在于植物及其果实、哺乳动物组织和昆虫毒液中。蚁酸可以作为脱钙剂用于工业制备各种药物、染料和化合物,也可以用于鞣制皮革。蚁酸也是空气和水的一种重要污染物,且已被确定为甲醇中毒的有毒中间体[2]。在昆虫中,目前已知蚂蚁、蜜蜂、舟蛾幼虫和一些甲虫等均能分泌蚁酸[3~9]。因蚁酸具无色、有刺激气味和具腐蚀性的特点,而人们在白蚁蚁道中也能嗅到一股酸味,且蚁道通过硬物表面常常会发现硬物表面有被腐蚀的痕迹,故误认为白蚁也能分泌蚁酸。虽然笔者在国内外正式出版物上尚未查阅到白蚁分泌蚁酸的说法,但在网络上和行业内,白蚁分泌蚁酸导致钢筋混凝土腐蚀的说法则非常普遍。在网上通过百度搜索引擎搜索有关白蚁分泌蚁酸的信息,可找到约49200条相关条目。   
        昆虫分泌的蚁酸,主要是作为防御武器[58]或报警信息素[10],低浓度时也可用作引诱信息素[11]。迄今已知能分泌蚁酸的昆虫都是进化上较为高等的类群,分属膜翅目(Hymenoptera)、鳞翅目(Lepidoptera)和鞘翅目(Coleoptera)。它们在身体构造上具有专门分泌蚁酸的腺体:蚂蚁主要是由腹部后端的毒腺(poison gland)和杜氏腺(Dufour’s gland)分泌[1213],蜜蜂主要由头部的下颌腺(mandibular gland)分泌[9],舟蛾幼虫主要由头颈部的颈腺(cervical gland)分泌[5],步甲主要由腹部后端的臀腺(pygidial gland)分泌[714]。白蚁虽然具有额腺(frontal gland)、下颌腺(mandibular gland)、下唇腺(labial gland)、背板腺(tergal gland)、腹板腺(sternal gland)、后腹板腺(posterior sternal gland)[15]和腿外分泌腺(leg exocrine gland)等[16],但尚未发现这些腺体具有分泌蚁酸的功能。在白蚁分泌的防御物质中也未发现蚁酸[17~24]
        那么,白蚁又是如何造成钢筋混凝土或其它硬物表面腐蚀的呢?笔者认为,这与白蚁排泄大量的二氧化碳(CO2)有关。大量研究证明,白蚁在消化纤维素过程中会产生大量的甲烷(CH4)和二氧化碳气体排泄到体外[25~30]。蚁道内的高浓度二氧化碳水平和湿度水平会因白蚁类型和习性而有不同[30],但通常较为封闭的蚁道内具有较环境更高的相对湿度和二氧化碳浓度以及较为恒定的温度[3132]。二氧化碳在干燥情况下对钢铁不具有腐蚀性,但在潮湿环境下或溶于水后会形成碳酸(H2CO3),碳酸对钢铁有较强的腐蚀性,其腐蚀性甚至超过强酸[33]。蚁道通过的地方,既具有较高的相对湿度又有较高的二氧化碳浓度,造成钢铁的腐蚀就不足为怪了。白蚁在建筑物中活动时,随时会排泄大量的二氧化碳在蚁道中聚集。当二氧化碳浓度不高时,它可与混凝土中的氢氧化钙(Ca(OH)2)反应生成碳酸钙(CaCO3)的硬壳,对混凝土本身有保护作用。但二氧化碳浓度较高时,游离状态的二氧化碳又和碳酸钙起反应生成碳酸氢钙(Ca(HCO3)2),碳酸氢钙溶于水,造成了混凝土的腐蚀[34]。这就是白蚁造成钢筋混凝土的破坏的原因。此外,碳酸虽然为弱酸,但在长期作用下也会造成一些硬物表面的腐蚀。
     
     
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