Smart application of surfactants gives sustainable agriculture

Jun 05, 2014

Anton Fagerström at Malmö University, Sweden, has investigated the interaction between the plant's barrier, plant protection products and adjuvants that are added to increase the effect of the plant protection product. The results of this research can be applied to minimise the use of plant protection products in agriculture.

If the agricultural industry is to be competitive and profitable, we need plant protection products that protect the plants against fungal and insect attack. However, plant protection products have a number of negative effects on the environment.

Therefore, to generate a sustainable agriculture, farmers must optimise their use of plant protection products.

"We have known for some time that surfactants, surface-acting agents, reinforce the effect of plant protection products. But we know very little about the underlying mechanisms that affect the plant leaf barrier and thus also uptake of the active substances," comments Anton Fagerström, a researcher at Malmö University, Sweden.

Anton Fagerström's research has focused on the interaction between the cuticle which is the outermost layer of the plant leaf, and plant protection products and surfactants, surface-acting agents that are added to increase the effect of the plant protection product. The barrier that protects the plant and prevents uptake of foreign elements is situated in the cuticle.

"The barrier is highly effective and protects the plant even though it is unbelievably thin.

We have developed a new model to determine how the structure of the changes when surfactants and water are added at various temperatures. This increases our understanding of how surfactants act."

Furthermore, Anton Fagerström has studied cuticle uptake of plant protection products and which properties in a mixture that affect uptake.

In the future, the results of this research could enable selection of the most effective surfactant for a particular plant protection product, and the most effective plant protection product for a particular plant. Thus minimising the amounts of plant protection products used in the .

"The future demands that can feed the world's ever-increasing population. To succeed, the research must continue."

Explore further: Insect community driven by plant hormones

More information: Effects of surfactant adjuvants on plant leaf cuticle barrier properties: dspace.mah.se/handle/2043/17029

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Insect community driven by plant hormones

May 13, 2014

Plants are not solitary, defenceless organisms but rather the centre of a vibrant community consisting of tens or even hundreds of insect species. Plants possess a wide range of defence mechanisms that are ...

Marriage of convenience with a fungus

May 22, 2014

Thanks to a fungus, the medicinal plant ribwort plantain gains a higher concentration of the defensive compound catalpol. Biologists at Bielefeld University report this discovery in a study to be published ...

Reactor at Bulgarian nuclear plant shut down

Jul 08, 2012

A 1,000-megawatt reactor at Bulgaria's Kozloduy nuclear plant was temporarily shut down early Saturday due to a turbogenerator problem, but no rise in radioactivity was recorded, a statement said.

Recommended for you

The origin of the language of life

Dec 19, 2014

The genetic code is the universal language of life. It describes how information is encoded in the genetic material and is the same for all organisms from simple bacteria to animals to humans. However, the ...

Quest to unravel mysteries of our gene network

Dec 18, 2014

There are roughly 27,000 genes in the human body, all but a relative few of them connected through an intricate and complex network that plays a dominant role in shaping our physiological structure and functions.

EU court clears stem cell patenting

Dec 18, 2014

A human egg used to produce stem cells but unable to develop into a viable embryo can be patented, the European Court of Justice ruled on Thursday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.