What is an adjuvant?

Adjuvants are commonly used in agriculture to help improve the performance of pesticides. They can be added to the spray tank to improve pesticide activity or application characteristics. Spray adjuvants are generally grouped into two broad categories - activator adjuvants and special purpose adjuvants.

Activator Adjuvants include surfactants, crop oil concentrates, nitrogen fertilizers, spreader-stickers, wetting agents, and penetrants. Benefits Include:

  • Enhance post-emergence herbicide performance
  • Herbicide absorption into plant tissue and rain fastness
  • Ability to alter physical characteristics of spray solutions

Special Purpose Adjuvants include compatibility agents, buffering agents, antifoam agents, and drift control agents. Benefits include:

  • Widen range of conditions under which a given herbicide formulation is useful
  • Ability to alter physical characteristics of spray solutions

Adjuvant Product Groups and Agricultural Purpose

  • Anti-Foaming Agents – reduce foaming of spray mixtures requiring vigorous agitation
  • Buffers – allow mixing of pesticides of different acidity or alkalinity
  • Compatibility Agents – aid in combining pesticides effectively
  • Emulsifiers – allow petroleum-based pesticides (EC’s- emulsified concentrates) to mix with water
  • Foaming Agents – reduce drift
  • Invert Emulsifiers – permit water-based pesticides to mix with petroleum carrier
  • Penetrants – allow the pesticide to get through the outer surface to the inside of the treated area
  • Safeners – reduce pyro toxicity of pesticide to protected crop
  • Spreaders – permit pesticides to form a uniform coating layer over the treated surface
  • Stickers – allow pesticide to stay on the treated surface
  • Thickeners – reduce drift by increasing droplet size
  • Wetting Agents – allow wettable powders to mix with water and stick on plant or animal surfaces

Common Products Used in Adjuvants Market

The following products are commonly used in the adjuvants market:

Aromatic 100,150,200IsoparPropylene Glycol
De-Aromatized FluidLow Toxicity, Low Volatility Insecticides & HerbicidesSulfonate
EthanolamineMethyl Ester OilVarious Amine Ethoxylate & Alcohol Ethoxylate
EthylenimineNonylphenol Ethoxylate (NPE)White Mineral Oil
Ethylene GlycolPolysorbate 
Glycol EtherPolyethylene Glycol