Adjuvants in crop protection

Adjuvants are typically incorporated into agrochemicals and foliar fertilizers utilized in crop protection. Their purpose is to augment the effectiveness of active ingredients and enhance the overall performance of these products when targeting insect pests, diseases, or deficiencies that need to be addressed.

Adjuvants improve the performance of products by facilitating the more effective delivery of active ingredients, reducing the necessary amount of active ingredient, and expanding the range of effectiveness. They alter the characteristics of the spray solution, thereby enhancing the ability of the active ingredient to specifically target and penetrate the intended organism. Certain adjuvants can be integrated into formulations (known as built-in or in-can adjuvants), while others can be added separately to the spray tank along with other agrochemical products. These various types of adjuvants are commonly found in the market.

There are several benefits and advantages associated with adjuvants, which include:

Spray Formation

The formation and movement of spray droplets play a crucial role in ensuring that products effectively reach their intended target. Adjuvants play a significant role in influencing the quality of the spray by minimizing spray drift and wastage, enabling a greater portion of the product to reach the desired target. This not only contributes to an improved environmental impact but also offers the potential for a more cost-effective solution.

Wetting and spreading

Ideally, it is desirable for spray droplets to efficiently cover the surface of the intended target, ensuring even distribution of the active ingredient. Wetting adjuvants play a crucial role in achieving this by reducing surface tension and contact angle, thereby enhancing the coverage of the spray droplets.

Deposit Formation

After spraying, water within the spray droplets gradually evaporates over time, resulting in the precipitation of the active ingredient and the formation of a deposit on the leaf surface. The characteristics and arrangement of this deposit can significantly impact the effectiveness of the active ingredient. In this context, adjuvants play a role in influencing the evaporation process of water from the droplets, promoting a more uniform distribution and structure of the deposit.

Uptake

In order for systemic active ingredients to function effectively, they must be absorbed by the plant, allowing them to circulate through the plant’s tissues and reach the target organisms. Adjuvants play a vital role in enhancing the penetration and uptake of active ingredients, leading to improved bioavailability.

Several types of adjuvants include:

  1. Non-ionic surfactants are traditional surface adjuvants composed of alcohols and fatty acids. They are known for their compatibility with a wide range of pesticides.
  2. Silicone-based surfactants are gaining popularity due to their exceptional spreading, wetting, sticking, and penetrating properties. They are compatible with a wide range of pesticides and are increasingly preferred in the industry.
  3. Due to their petroleum-based nature, oil-based surfactants, which combine petroleum-based oils with non-ionic surfactants, possess the risk of harming unintended crops.
  4. Caution should be exercised when using fertilizer-based surfactants such as Ammonium sulfate in combination with broadleaf herbicides to enhance absorption. This is because the fertilizers contained in these surfactants have the potential to harm crops.

Greenlife provides growers with a surfactant called INTEGRA, which is based on organo-silicone. This surfactant has been proven to be more effective compared to conventional adjuvants. By using this product, the efficacy of pesticides is improved, and there is a reduction in the number of applications needed, particularly for fungicides used in crop disease control. INTEGRA is non-phytotoxic, meaning it has minimal impact on beneficial parasites and predators utilized in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices. It is primarily designed for tank mix applications and can be used with all pesticide formulations. Therefore, growers are advised to incorporate INTEGRA into their spray mixes for optimal results.

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