Silicone adjuvants are used frequently in agriculture for increasing the effects of agricultural herbicides and pesticides. Before going deep into the discussion, let’s understand first what adjuvants are. They can be simply explained as support chemicals that can be added to herbicides, pesticides, and insecticides to increase their effectiveness and also add several beneficial characteristics.
Agricultural adjuvants are primarily used as an herbicide but their use as insecticides, fungicides, acaricides, and plant growth regulators are also being established.
It’s time to dive further into details of how Silicone Agricultural Adjuvant can be used in different modes:
Silicone Adjuvants for Herbicides:
When these adjuvants are added to the herbicides, they either improve or sometimes lower the potential of the herbicides depending upon the nature of the adjuvant it is being added in. Enhancing the effect of herbicides by adding adjuvants seems pretty straightforward forward but why we would want the adjuvant to decrease the effects of herbicides? Sometimes, the herbicide might be needed to eradicate the growing herbs in crops, and using the herbicide at its full capacity might prove harmful to the crop itself and that is where adjuvants come into play to save the crop while killing the herbs at the same time.
Roles of different types of Silicone Adjuvants along with Herbicides:
As the name suggests, these types of silicone adjuvants increase the activity of herbicides by enhancing the following characteristics:
- Increased absorption into the plant surface.
- Decreased photodegradation of herbicides leads to increased time of activity of herbicides or increased life of herbicidal action.
- Changes the physical properties of herbicides.
Plants have a thick outer surface known as a cuticle which must be penetrated by herbicides to be effective. The cuticle is made up of wax which is water-repellent in nature and cutin and pectin which are somewhat less repellent to water. Wax is the major factor that limits the absorption of herbicides as the hydrocarbons are the primary component in the wax. The amount of wax and type of wax changes across different species which makes it a bit tricky in choosing the right adjuvant which can help herbicide cross the cuticle easily.
Surfactants can be anionic, cationic, nonionic, and organosilicon. They are used after herbicides. The main function of surfactants is to decrease the surface tension between spray droplets of herbicide and plant surface.
Nonionic surfactants can be used in combination with a lot of pesticides because it carries no electrical charge. While anionic surfactants carry a negatively charged functional group. Anionic surfactants are more specific and are only compatible with some specific herbicides. Only one cationic surfactant (ethoxylated fatty amines) is commonly used with herbicides. Organosilicon is a relatively newly introduced group of surfactants, and they are replacing the old non-ionic surfactants because of lower surface tension, better rain fastness, and other improved properties than those of non-ionic surfactants.
Silicone Adjuvants for Insecticides and Acaricides:
Silicone surfactants are not very reactive, but their capability to penetrate insects is mainly because the outer layer of insects is somewhat similar to that of plants. Silicone surfactant penetrates the insect’s stroma due to decreased surface tension.
Silicone Adjuvants for Fungicides:
Silicone adjuvants used in fungicides are not very much known and there is limited knowledge available. Fungicides are not required to be absorbed into the leaf surface for effectiveness. Instead, they tend to perform better when they stay on the surface of the plant to keep them protected from fungus.
Contrary to the protective fungus, the systemic fungus is required to be absorbed to perform its function. Silicone adjuvants may prove helpful in the cause of system fungicides.
Silicone Adjuvants for Plant Growth Regulators:
The use of silicone-based adjuvants such as siloxane polymers has proven to show an increased effect on plant growth regulators and this action is due to increased uptake of plant growth regulators. An example of a silicone adjuvant in plant growth regulators is the use of silicone adjuvant with manganese salt and phosphate which is applied to wheat crops, and it tends to give more outcomes than any other surfactant used.
To sum up the discussion, silicone adjuvants play a vital role in increasing the outcome of crops and reducing the potential damage or harm which can be inflicted by herbs, pests, fungi, and other factors.