Greening agricultural sprays

Chemistry-RACI, Media bulletins

IUPAC Symposium 1A – Formulation: Efficacy and the Environment

Ingo Fleute-Schlachter, Cognis, Germany

Friendlier pesticides are on the way. Every pesticide contains an active ingredient. But there is more in the can. The formulation may need additives and adjuvants which boost performance: working as emuslifiers, wetters, dispersants, or sticking agents to deliver the pesticide to where it’s needed – the surfaces of leaves for example.

Sometimes, as in many glyphosate formulations, the additives are more toxic or damaging to the environment that the active ingredient itself.

Ingo Fleute-Schlachter will present the work of Cognis to create green alternatives to the additives of the past to create more benign pesticides. They have created a friendlier glyphosate by replacing a toxic adjuvant with new adjuvants based on naturally occurring compounds. He says their blends are at least as good and provide additional benefits.


Many solvents traditionally used to solubilise active ingredients suffer from unfavourable toxicity and eco-toxicity, and there is increasing demand to find suitable benign alternatives.

Cognis has developed safer alternatives based on naturally available, renewable raw materials such as fatty acid dimethylamides (DMA). Our latest development has resulted in alkylamides offering higher polarities: N,N-dibutyl lactamide is water insoluble, while N,N-dimethyl lactamide is fully compatible with water, hence showing related properties to NMP.

In addition, ready-to-use EC formulations have been developed for various active ingredients covering a broad range of chemical classes.

These ECs have been designed and optimized to achieve maximum pesticide solvency, excellent behaviour at cold temperatures, crystal formation neither in the concentrate nor in the spray mix, and excellent emulsification performance, even with hard water. Several examples will be presented and discussed to show the benefits achieved through formulation and specific solvent mixtures.