By Vanessa Xu
Nouryon Regional Marketing Manager for Agro Applications
CONTACT: Vanessa Xu
Nouryon (formerly AkzoNobel) is a new company with a long heritage and extensive expertise in specialty chemicals as well as a major global supplier of inert ingredients in pesticide formulations to agrochemical companies. Adjuvants and dispersants are specialty areas where Nouryon has decades of experience in development and formulations. In recent years, Nouryon has renewed its focus on formulation aids to meet market needs for practical and cost-effective tools. As a result, the company recently launched Agrilan® 1028, a dispersant and compatibilizer especially designed for use in high electrolyte tank mix applications.
The tank mix market is a growing market driven by a confluence of trends such as growers’ desires to customize and control spray mixes — increasing weed resistance which drives multiple actives mixtures –, and to add fertilizers, micronutrients, and other plant protection products in the same spray mix to increase efficiency of operations.
The challenge, however, with increasing the number of ingredients in a tank mixture is the tendency for the solution to destabilize. The addition of suspension concentrate (SC) formulations to a liquid fertilizer, for example, tends to result in rapid flocculation. Obviously, this is detrimental to the spraying process and costly for the grower, but unfortunately it is a common occurrence as tank mixes become more complex.
The primary reason for the flocculation — as Nouryon’s Agro R&D Manager Ralph Franklin discovered — is that the surfactants and polymers commonly used in SC formulations performed poorly in high electrolyte systems such as fertilizer systems. The goal was clear: a versatile compatibilizer was needed to stabilize any fertilizer containing system.
Dr. Franklin first screened a number of phosphate esters for their efficacy as in-furrow and tank mix compatibilizer with various active ingredients and fertilizers. In the beginning, efforts were focused primarily on bifenthrin, imidacloprid and 10-34-0 starter fertilizer.
Agrilan 1028 was ultimately chosen for its versatility and reliable performance across multiple test conditions. Four samples of commercial 540K glyphosate and four samples of glyphosate formulations with Nouryon adjuvants were added with Atrazine WDG and Trifluralin EC formulations. All eight mixtures flocculated. The problem disappeared completely with only a 0.5% addition of Agrilan 1028.
A comparison of Agrilan 1028 was also made against competitive materials recommended for use with high electrolyte systems by adding a bifenthrin suspension concentrate to10-34-0 fertilizer. After 24 hours standing, the results were stark: formulations containing Agrilan 1028 showed no separation whereas competitive comparisons showed clear separation. “This result confirmed our original findings that the specific alcohol used, degree of ethoxylation and method of manufacture are key to achieving stability in both the SC and the fertilizer dilution,” concluded Dr. Franklin.
Learn more about Nouryon’s wide range of adjuvants, dispersants, emulsifiers, solvents and other additives that will help take your crop protection portfolio to the next level at nouryon.com/agrochemicals.