Rayonier Advanced Materials: ARBO®AGRO - Advanced Materials for Innovative Formulations
Jun. 21, 2018
Innovative, optimized, safe: Simply put, today’s crop protection formulations face the challenges of maintaining optimal efficiency, precision and safety. This must be achieved while respecting the earth and its inhabitants, and working with the latest scientific discoveries and standards. One of the major challenges lies in feeding the world’s ever-increasing population. To help address this serious problem, we’ve exploited petroleum, which, once refined, offers effective solutions. It took nature millions of years to produce it, a basic material of finite quantity. Why not focus on another complex blend, one that is renewable and eco-friendly? Why should we wait for the current industry standard to jeopardize the future of our crops? Why not look for new environmental alternatives, such as wood-based chemistry?
The Forest Is Our Future
Sustainable equals responsible: At Rayonier AM, we strongly believe that nature can offer answers to some current problems; we actually believe it is the future. In our world-class bio-refineries, we separate the constitutive elements of wood to provide our customers with highly pure bio-sourced polymers. We manage our forests, and our raw materials in responsible and renewable ways to ensure a thriving ecosystem. The entire tree is transformed into useful compounds and green power. Softwood sourced locally from countries such as Canada and France guarantees consistent and superior raw material, ensuring outstanding ARBO® AGRO finished products.
One Highly Functional Additive - Infinite Applications
An additive’s innovation lies in its functionality and efficiency, and the best adjuvants offer several intrinsic functional features, besides demonstrating exceptional performance.
For this reason, we produce ARBO® AGRO lignosulfonates from lignin in our state-of-the-art biorefineries. ARBO® AGRO adjuvants result from advanced depolymerization of the lignocellulosic matrix.
As a binder: Within the tree, cellulose and hemicellulose are strongly bound together by lignin. Because of its high molecular weight, ARBO® AGRO lignosulfonates can be used as a binder; a natural glue (as shown in figure 1).
As such, the use of ARBO®AGRO is a good example of biomimicry and is particularly suitable for WG/WP formulations, because it re-dissolves easily in water, maintains uniform dispersion and is thus cleverly used as a dispersant and a binding agent.
As a dispersant: Lignin is hydrophobic by nature. To extract it from wood pulp (cellulose), we employ a sulfonation process to render the lignin hydrophilic. Once sulfonated (addition of -SO3-) on reactive sites, the lignin becomes completely water-soluble and possesses surfactant properties (as shown in figure 1). Combined with its high chemical and thermal stability, ARBO® AGRO’s harmless nature logically makes it compatible with crop nutrition and protection. Our high sulfonation rate produces an economically viable, performing and sustainable bio-based surfactant.
As a solution: Deficiencies of micronutrients such as iron, zinc and manganese are widespread in many crops. These deficiencies are not always visible. Our inability to detect and treat them drastically affects productivity and yields. ARBO®AGRO ammonium lignosulfonates allow for numerous complexation sites such as carbonyls, carboxyls and sulfonic acids to be made easily accessible to oligo-elements (as shown in figure 2 ).
Do more: Preventing chemical waste during production is the primary principle of green chemistry. Ammonium lignosulfonates possess the significant advantage of recycling, recovering or reusing the ammonia in NPK production. Smartly adding doped ARBO®AGRO lignosulfonates with micronutrients such as zinc, manganese, copper and iron to fertilizer formulations can help reduce toxic co-formulants and prevent deficiencies.
Contrary to EDTA, ARBO®AGRO is able to carry both useful cations and provide binding-dispersing properties, as well as tolerate a wide range of pH levels (as shown in figure 3A).
ARBO®AGRO complex active fractions penetrate superficial tissues (cuticles) at a much higher rate than other complex-forming agents, even synthetic ones. This serves to ensure increased micronutrient bioavailability. Acting as true vectors, lignosulfonates deliver micronutrients to the right place without harming the plant or its environment.
In addition to its dispersing, binding and complexing additive physicochemical properties, lignosulfonates are known to possess an agronomic interest (as shown in figure 3B). In each nutrition formulation, they are beneficial for the majority of crops. Lignin, the second most abundant renewable biopolymer on the earth, consists of phenolic building blocks that can alter oxidation mechanisms, such as competitive inhibition of peroxidases. Lignosulfonates play a significant role in two key mechanisms of plant physiology — rhizogenesis and flowering.
Figure 3B. Lignosulfonates agronomic interest
ARBO® AGRO From And With Nature: Biocontrol Is Our Best Fit
Biofriendly: The effectiveness and success of live active compounds are well established. Although they present certain issues, they are fundamentally subject to the same challenges as more traditional formulations. Additives derived from living systems remain the best choice for formulating coherent biocontrol solutions. Scientific and technical literature have emphasized the excellent compatibility of lignosulfonates in biocontrol solutions. Therefore, lignosulfonates are excellent candidates that allow effective optimization and improvement without inhibiting the properties of microorganisms. Like many biocontrol active ingredients, ARBO®AGRO powders are obtained by spray-drying. Thus, the spray-drying step could be combined to reduce final costs on powder-based biocontrol solutions.
One of the benefits of working with ARBO®AGRO is that it does not induce phytotoxicity. Specifically, this means foliar spray can be applied without yellowing or burning the leaves. Lignin is an organic polymer chemically close to humic substances, which is why it affects the soil quality in a positive way. Since soil is the farmer’s most valuable asset, it is imperative that the innovative formulations preserve and enhance it.
ARBO® AGRO Advanced Materials: An Innovative Choice With Rayonier AM
Collaborating with partners: Lignin’s exact structure remains a mystery to chemists, leaving much room for innovation. We’re not simply looking for customers, we want to build partnerships with those who share our vision of innovation. Innovation means thinking outside the box, envisioning solutions that no one else has thought of before. Innovation means using materials with leading-edge properties. Innovation means testing and solving. At a time when crude oil prices continue to rise at an alarming rate (100% in two years), we must work together to come up with viable and sustainable alternatives. Only together can we progress effectively and find answers that will help us develop more responsible, yet, effective agricultural methods.
To achieve this, we are constantly improving our processes and practices to ensure that our ARBO®AGRO lignosulfonates maintain an excellent level of quality. We also work closely with our clients and keep abreast of the latest trends in the agrochemical industry. The advanced performance of our lignosulfonates lies mainly in our ability to extract the highest lignin content possible.
With ARBO®AGRO now available in various salts: ammonium, ammonium calcium, sodium and potassium, it’s time to discover advanced materials to innovate your formulations.
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