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Extension Toxicology Network

A Pesticide Information Project of Cooperative Extension Offices of Cornell University, Michigan State University, Oregon State University, and University of California at Davis. Major support and funding was provided by the USDA/Extension Service/National Agricultural Pesticide Impact Assessment Program.


Publication Date: 9/95


Streptomycin is also called streptomycine, streptomycin sulfate or streptomycin nitrate. Trade names include Agri-mycin-17, Plantomycin; Agrept, Rimosidin, and AS-50 (1, 2).


Streptomycin is a General Use Pesticide (GUP) registered for use on fruits and vegetables. It may also be used on nonfood crops such as tobacco and greenhouse ornamentals (3).


Streptomycin is a human antibiotic drug which also is used to control bacteria, fungi, and algae in crops. It is an aminoglycoside with systemic action that is used on fruits, vegetables, tobacco, ornamentals, and in ponds and aquaria (2, 3). It controls a number of commercially important bacterial plant pathogens including fireblight of pear and apple, walnut blight, tomato canker, bacterial canker, angular leaf blight, and others. Gram positive species of bacteria are much more susceptible to its action than gram negative species (4). The EPA has classified it as Toxicity class IV- relatively non- toxic. Products containing streptomycin bear the Signal Word "Caution" because of its potential to cause skin reactions. It is available as a water soluble powder, pellets or emulsifiable concentrate (3).



Streptomycin is practically non-toxic. The dose which kills half of the test animals, the LD50, is 9,000 mg/kg for rats and greater than 10,000 mg/kg for mice (1, 4). Streptomycin may cause mild skin irritation or allergic skin reactions. Sensitive patients have shown reactions including rash, hives, headache, drop in blood pressure, nausea, and vomiting (6).


Reproductive Effects

No information currently available.

Teratogenic Effects

Rabbits dosed with 5 or 10 mg/kg/day of streptomycin showed no teratogenic effects (5).

Mutagenic Effects

No information currently available.

Carcinogenic Effects

No information currently available.

Organ Toxicity

Studies have shown that streptomycin can cause ear damage which is greatest in people exposed for four weeks or more (5, 8). Exposure to aminoglycosides such as streptomycin can result in kidney damage. In rare cases, streptomycin can cause paralysis by interfering with calcium transport in the nervous system (8).

Fate in Humans and Animals

Topical application or aerosol delivery of aminoglycosides results in minimal absorption. Aminoglycosides are not metabolized by the body. The compound concentrates in the kidney and can be detected in human urine for up to 10 days after a week-long dosing schedule. The time it takes for individuals to eliminate aminoglycosides depends on their kidney function (8).


Effects on Birds

Streptomycin is practically non-toxic to birds (6).

Effects on Aquatic Organisms

Streptomycin is practically non-toxic to fresh water invertebrates. It is slightly toxic to warm and cold water species of fish. It is very toxic to algae and is used to control algae in ponds and aquaria (6).

Effects on Other Animals (Nontarget species)

Streptomycin is used as an antibacterial agent for cats (7). Dogs which consume streptomycin develop resistance to the compound in the intestinal microorganisms (5).


Breakdown of Chemical in Soil and Groundwater

No information currently available.

Breakdown of Chemical in Water

No information currently available.

Breakdown of Chemical in Vegetation

Residues of streptomycin are not detectable in or on crops when treated according to label use rates and directions (3). Streptomycin may cause chlorosis to corn, grapes, pears, peaches, and certain ornamentals (2).


Streptomycin is an off-white powder derived from Streptomyces griseus bacteria (4). It is odorless and has a slightly bitter taste. The salt forms are hygroscopic but are not affected by exposure to light or air (7). Neutral solutions of streptomycin are stable for weeks at temperatures below 25 degrees C. Streptomycin is more active at an alkaline pH (9). It is unstable in strong acids and alkalis. It is incompatible with alkaline materials (1).

Physical Properties:

CAS#: 57-92-1
3810-74-0 Streptomycin sulfate
Solubility in water: Solubility in water is greater than 20 mg/ml (7)
Solubility in other solvents: Insoluble in ethanol, isopropanol, ether, and carbon tetrachloride (7, 9)

Exposure Guidelines:

NOEL: 125 mg/kg/day (rats)(1)
ADI: 0.05 mg/kg (5)


Pfizer, Inc.
Minerals Division
640 N. 13th St.
Easton, PA 18042
Telephone: 215/250-3036

Review by Basic Manufacturer:

Comments solicited: October, 1994
Comments received:

Merck & Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 450
Three Bridges, NJ 08887-0450

Review by Basic Manufacturer:

Comments solicited: October, 1994
Comments received: November, 1994


  1. The Agrochemicals Handbook, Third Edition. 1994. Royal Society of Chemistry Information Systems, Unwin Brothers Ltd., Surrey, England.
  2. Thomson, W. T. 1983. Agricultural Chemicals Book II Herbicides 1982. I Insecticides. Thomson Publications. Fresno, CA.
  3. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1988. Fact Sheet Number 186 Streptomycin. USEPA. Washington, DC.
  4. Meister, R.T. 1994. Farm Chemicals Handbook '94. Meister Publishing Company. Willoughby, OH.
  5. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1988. Guidance for the Registration of Pesticide Products Containing Streptomycin and Streptomycin Sulfate as the Active Ingredient Case Number 0169. USEPA. Washington, DC.
  6. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1992. R.E.D.(Registration Eligibility Document) Facts. Streptomycin and Streptomycin Sulfate. USEPA. Washington, DC.
  7. Budavari, Susan, (ed.). 1989. The Merck Index, Eleventh Edition. Merck and Company Inc. Rahway, NJ.
  8. Wingard, Lemuel, T. Brody et. al. 1991. Human Pharmacology Molecular- to-Clinical. Mosby Year Book. Baltimore, MD.
  9. Katzung, B.G. 1987. Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, Third Edition. Appleton and Lange. Norwalk, CT.