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Pesticide Formulations and Adjuvants. Montana State University Pesticide Safety Education Program. What is a formulation?. How a pesticide is packaged. Contains: Active Ingredient Inert Ingredient. Active Ingredients. Has the pesticide effect Its on the label

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pesticide formulations and adjuvants

Pesticide Formulations and Adjuvants

Montana State University

Pesticide Safety Education Program

what is a formulation
What is a formulation?
  • How a pesticide is packaged.
  • Contains:
    • Active Ingredient
    • Inert Ingredient
active ingredients
Active Ingredients
  • Has the pesticide effect
  • Its on the label
  • Properties of the a.i. influences the type of


inert ingredients
Inert Ingredients
  • “Inactive”
  • ingredients mixed with a.i. To make

formulation easier to handle or store.

  • Toxic or non-toxic
types of formulations
Types of Formulations
  • Wet
    • More easily absorbed
  • Dry
    • More easily inhaled
liquid formulations wet
Liquid Formulations (Wet)
  • EC – emulsifiable concentrate
  • S – soluble
  • Advantage:
    • ☺ Will not separate or settle out when mixed with water.
    • ☺ Not as harmful to non-target plants

and animals

  • Disadvantage:
    • Not many disadvantages.
    • Readily absorbs into skin
emulsified concentrates
Emulsified Concentrates
    • ☺ Little agitation required. Won’t settle out when equipment is turned off.
    • ☺ Relatively non-abrasive.
    • ☺ Easy to handle, store and transport
    • Because of the solvents and emulsifiers, EC’s are a hazard

to non-target plants and animals.

    • Easily absorbed through skin of plants and humans.
    • Solvents may cause rubber or plastic hoses & gaskets to


dry formulations
Dry Formulations
  • WP – Wettable powder
  • F or DF – Dry Flowable
  • WDG – Water Dispersible Granule
  • D -Dust
  • P or G – Pellets or Granules
  • M or ME – Micro-Encapsulated
wettable powders
Wettable Powders
    • ☺ Easy to store & transport. Smaller packaging. Won’t


    • ☺ Less inert ingredients in formulation.
    • ☺ Lower toxicity to plants than liquid formulations.
    • The inert ingredients, clay or talc, are generally harmless to


    • Inhalation hazard when pouring and mixing. It’s dry!
    • Needs vigorous & constant agitation in the spray tank.
    • Abrasive to many pumps and nozzles.
  • ☺ Easy to handle and apply
  • ☺ Seldom clogs nozzles. Finer ground carrier.
  • May leave visible residue.
  • Requires agitation
effects of different formulations
Effects of Different Formulations
  • Formulations Hazards Phytox Equipment Agitate Compactable
  • M or ME Dermal Safe ok Yes Fair
  • G or P Inhale Safe NA NA NA
  • D Inhale Safe NA NA NA
  • S Dermal Safe Non-abrasive No Fair
  • F or FL Dermal Maybe abrasive Yes Fair
  • EC Dermal Maybe Seals, gaskets No Fair
  • WP Inhale Safe abrasive Yes High
interaction problems with combining formulations
Interaction problems with combining Formulations
  • Additive effects
  • Synergistic responses
  • Antagonism
  • Enhancement
  • Additives that are added to a spray solution in order to enhance or modify the performance of the spray mixture.

#1 - Surfactants/wetting agents

#2 - Oils

#3 - Fertilizers

#4 – Utility

      • Anti-foaming agents
      • Compatibility agents
      • Drift control agents
      • Emulsification aids
      • Suspension aids
1 surfactants oils
#1 – Surfactants / Oils
  • A broad category of adjuvants that facilitate and enhance the absorbing, emulsifying, dispersing, spreading, sticking, wetting and penetrating properties of pesticides.
  • Some pesticides like Roundup Pro already have surfactants added. (14.5 %)
why surfactants
Why Surfactants
  • Because of the high surface tension of water, spray mixture droplets maintain their roundness and can sit on the leaf hairs or leaf surface without much of the mixture actually contacting the leaf.
  • Surfactants reduce angle and promote more absorption
tips continued
Tips continued
  • Costs
    • Generally, non-ionic surfactants and crop oil concentrates are the least expensive
    • Nitrogen surfactants, esterified crop oils, organosilicones (most expensive)
  • What conditions follow an application?
    • Max rainfastness: esterified seed oils, organo-silicones, nitrogen surfactants
    • Not all surfactants have the same amount of rainfastness
what formulation is this
What formulation is this?


Bravo 720 F fungicide

Furadan 4 F insecticide

question 2 what formulation is this
Question #2What formulation is this?
  • Powdered Hand Soap
  • Wettable Powder
  • Easily Inhaled


Sevin 50 W insecticide

Kerb 50 W herbicide

Sniper 50 W insecticide

read the label
  • This will give you an idea of what type of adjuvant if any should be used.
bhopal india disaster
Bhopal, India Disaster
  • Union Carbide Pesticide Manufacturing Plant
  • December 3rd, 1984
  • 8,000 initial dead
  • 15,000 more within 10 years
  • 500,000 suffer injuries
  • water wells near the site show overall chemical contamination to be 500 times higher than the maximum limits recommended by the World Health Organization.
  • cancer, genetic defects (birth defects), and liver and kidney damage.
how does this relate to you
How does this relate to you
  • We drink well water
    • 50% of Montana Citizens drink well water
    • 95% of those living in agricultural communities
  • Restricted Use Applicators of Major Concern in Montana Ag. Areas
    • You are the greatest risk factor for your own health
spill what do we do
Spill – What do we do?
  • Stepped Concerns
    • Safety
    • Control
    • Containment
    • Reporting
    • Cleanup
  • Have On Hand
    • Absorbent
    • Shovel
    • Bags
    • Emergency Contacts
how do we reduce risk
How do we reduce risk?

#1 – Mixing & Loading Locations

#2 - Filling Tanks

#3 – Read Label

what factors are at play in groundwater contamination
What factors are at play in groundwater contamination?

#1 – Pesticide Factors




#2 – Soil Factors

-Texture/OM/Cracked Soil

#3 – Site Conditions


-Shallow Groundwater

some chemicals are labeled for use on riparian areas
Some chemicals are labeled for use on Riparian areas
  • 2.4-D Aquatic
  • Rodeo
  • Banvel
  • Escort, Tellar
  • Krenite
  • Plateau
  • Roundup
bhopal recap
Bhopal RECAP
  • Groundwater contamination has many affects varying on contaminant involved
    • Elderly, and children at most risk
contact information
Contact Information

MSU Pesticide Safety Education Program