Silicone surfactants, also referred to as organosilicone adjuvants (Silicone Surfactants In Agriculture), are a class of surfactants that contain silicon-oxygen bonds. In agriculture, they are often added to formulations of pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, plant growth regulators, and foliar nutrients. The silicone chemistry provides unique properties that make these molecules useful as spreading agents and penetrants in crop protection chemicals and fertilizers.
Properties and Mode of Action The structure of silicone surfactants specifically having a silicon backbone with polyether side chains makes them extremely stable in wet environments and at high temperatures. As surfactants, they reduce the surface tension of aqueous solutions significantly more than traditional surfactants. This allows for faster spreading over hydrophobic surfaces like plant leaves and cuticles. The surfactant molecules also demonstrate superior surface activity compared to traditional surfactants, which assists in coating, wetting, and uniform dispersion of active ingredients.
The hydrophobic silicone backbone strongly adheres to the wax layers and lipids on the surfaces of plant tissues. This allows the surfactant to effectively bind the pesticide or nutrient molecule and carry it through these waxy barriers more efficiently. Research shows that silicone surfactants can provide rapid uptake and high retention of agrochemicals in plants. The surfactants themselves are also resistant to being washed off by rainfall or irrigation compared to other adjuvants.
Applications and Benefits in Agriculture Silicone surfactants have become a valuable tool for farmers and agricultural companies for their ability to increase efficacy and optimize the performance of crop protection chemicals. By enhancing the spreading and penetration of active ingredients, less product needs to be applied to achieve equivalent results.
ROMAKK Agriculture Silicone surfactants Specific benefits include:
• Require lower doses of pesticide/nutrient for efficacy
• Provide faster uptake into leaves and stems
• Improve control of target pests and diseases
• Extend the duration of activity for some products
• Work in a wider range of field conditions
• Reduce losses from wind drift and runoff
These silicone adjuvant products have proven particularly effective with some difficult-to-wet targets like waxy or hairy leaves and established biofilms. They are now commonly added into tank mixes and formulations of herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, plant growth regulators, foliar nutrients, and even desiccants. Popular active ingredients used with organosilicone surfactants include glyphosate, organophosphates, pyrethroids, and sulfonylureas.
Q: Can silicone surfactants be used with all types of agrochemicals?
A: Yes, silicone surfactants can be seamlessly integrated into tank mixes and formulations of herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, plant growth regulators, foliar nutrients, and desiccants.
Q: Do silicone surfactants work on all types of plant surfaces?
A: Yes, silicone surfactants are particularly effective on difficult-to-wet targets like waxy or hairy leaves and established biofilms, ensuring comprehensive coverage.
Q: How do silicone surfactants contribute to reducing environmental impact?
A: By enhancing the efficiency of crop protection chemicals, silicone surfactants help reduce the quantity of product needed, minimizing environmental footprint.
Q: Are there any specific guidelines for the safe use of silicone surfactants?
A: Ongoing research aims to establish comprehensive guidelines addressing concerns such as endocrine disruption, groundwater contamination, and impacts on beneficial insects and soil microbes.
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