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Empowering Agriculture: Nouryon’s solutions in Agrochemical Formulationsqrcode

May. 28, 2024

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May. 28, 2024

Nouryon
Netherlands  Netherlands
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John McCool

Global Marketing Manager, 

Crop Protection, Agriculture & Food, Nouryon

Ching Lee 

Global Launch Manager, 

Crop Protection, Agriculture & Food, Nouryon


Crop protection chemicals play a critical role in the overall agriculture industry, helping to maximize the yield and quality of crops to meet the growing global demand for food, fiber, and fuel. The Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations1 estimates between 20 – 40% of global crop yields are lost to pest pressure each year, highlighting the importance of efficient and effective crop protection solutions to safeguard against food insecurity.


We are proud to partner with crop protection formulators to offer a wide range of high-quality products and services aimed at solving the next generation of challenges to agrochemical formulations. Supported by 13 manufacturing sites and 13 Innovation and Application centers across the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific, Nouryon’s Agriculture & Food business line is committed to bringing reliable and sustainable solutions to address the industry’s challenges.


These challenges arise from several different aspects, such as a growing demand for more sustainable formulations, intensifying pest resistance, increasing regulatory scrutiny, adoption of precision agriculture practices, and the growing biological pesticide market. We will touch on these categories throughout the article and highlight the significance of Nouryon’s portfolio in helping address these obstacles.


  • Sustainable formulations – Environmentally friendly formulations continue to gain more share of global formulations, as evidenced by the increased adoption of water-based suspension concentrates (SC). The market has also seen development of novel formulation types such as Emulsion in Water (EW) and Dispersible Concentrates (DC), which provide better efficacy with fewer solvents used. Lastly, high load formulations are becoming more prevalent given the improved handling and application characteristics while conserving resources such as fuel and water.


  • Pest resistance – Insects, weeds and diseases can develop pesticide resistance over time. This resistance trend has led to the combination of 2 or more active ingredients in the same formulation to allow different modes of action to control the pest.


  • Regulatory environment – Increasing legislation or proposed actions aimed at agrochemical formulations, most notably microplastics and biodegradability.


  • Precision agriculture – Specific to crop protection, we are seeing the adoption of newer application technologies such as drones and ultra-low volume systems. These technologies require specialized equipment and formulations to achieve the desired results.


  • Biologicals – While many conventional adjuvants are suitable for biopesticide applications, special consideration must be given to the living nature of biopesticide products. Due to differences in   environmental conditions, biopesticides may be formulated in different forms, each designed for a specific market.


Nouryon offers a full range of robust dispersants and emulsifiers that address many of the formulation challenges today, including high load, multi-component combinations. Our broad technology portfolio includes our alkyl naphthalene sulfonates, polymeric dispersing agents and proprietary alkoxylated phosphate esters (see Figure 1).


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Figure 1:  Nouryon dispersant portfolio


Nouryon is a market leader with our Morwet® technology. These naphthalene sulfonate condensates are versatile and robust for liquid (SC) and dry (Wettable Powder (WP), Water Dispersible Granule (WDG)) formulations and for a wide range of active ingredients. Our polymeric dispersing agents (see Figure 2) are fine tuned to address varying formulation needs such as water solubility, hard water tolerance, electrostatic and steric stabilization needs.


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Figure 2:  Nouryon has a wide range of polymeric dispersants to cater to molecules of different hydrophobicity 


Our team has conducted extensive work to discover optimized solutions for novel formulations across key active ingredients in the market. We are excited to introduce Agrilan® 855, a dispersing agent designed for enhanced stability and performance. Agrilan® 855 has been tested not only in high loading SC formulation but used in demanding Suspo Emulsion (SE) and DC formulations. 


In the example below (see Figure 3), Agrilan® 855 is used in a 25% Pyraclostrobin formulation, a low-melting active with polymorphic tendencies and poor heat stability. Agrilan® 855 not only achieved a smaller particle size and lower viscosity during the initial milling but also improved storage stability. 


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Figure 3:  Agrilan® 855 in Pyraclostrobin 25% SC


Agrilan® 855 has also been trialed and tested in challenging DC formulations. In DC formulations, the active ingredient is typically dissolved in a water-miscible, polar solvent together with a dispersing agent /emulsifier. Upon dilution in water, the active ingredient is dispersed in fine particles sizes. To stabilize such fine, small particles, a robust dispersant typically combining both electrostatic and steric stabilization mechanism is required. In the example below (see Figure 4), Agrilan® 855 is used in a Chlorantraniliprole + Lambda cyhalothrin formulation.


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Figure 4:  Agrilan® 855 in chlorantraniliprole + lambda cyhalothrin


We have made significant investments in research and development to identify new and innovative solutions that are effective and more sustainable. In addition to our polymeric dispersants and naphthalene sulfonates condensates, Nouryon also developed a pair of biodegradable, alkoxylated phosphate esters - Agrilan® 1015 and Agrilan® 1028.


Agrilan® 1015 is an award winning, multi-functional adjuvant with dispersant, emulsifying, wetting and compatibilizer properties. Agrilan® 1015 is ideal for use in complex formulations, such as high load mixtures and low volume use rates where there is a need for high performing adjuvants.  


In the below SE formulation (see Figure 5), Agrilan® 1015 is the lone surfactant used, serving as the emulsifier, dispersant and wetting agent. SE formulations must be supported by dispersants and emulsifiers that not only improve the stability and performance of the formulation from the start of manufacturing, but also ensure storage stability and tank mix stability to improve end user experience. 


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Figure 5:  Agrilan® 1015 in suspo emulsion (SE) formulation


Specific to crop protection, we see the adoption of newer application technologies such as drones and ultra-low volume (ULV) systems. In drone applications, the application volume may be as low as 10-30L/Ha, in contrast to the 2-400L/Ha needed for conventional spray applications. The less water used in application, the greater the risk of issues related to active ingredient suspensibility and formulation stability. Agrilan® 1028 is an ideal candidate to help in the suspensibility of the formulation to minimize nozzle clogging (see Figure 6). It facilitates compatibility between pesticides and fertilizers in suspension concentrates and in tank-mix situations. It also allows dilution of suspension concentrates into fertilizers and prevents flocculation and sedimentation when several formulations are mixed in the spray tank (see Figure 7).


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Figure 6:  Agrilan® 1028 as multi-functional adjuvant in drone application formulation


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Figure 7:  Agrilan® 1028 as multi-functional adjuvant in tank mix & in can examples


Nouryon has undertaken the task of screening our surfactants against the common biologicals in the market to meet the growing formulation needs of this market. This effort aims to identify several dispersants and wetting agents with high minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) that are deemed suitable for most biologicals (see Figure 8). 


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Figure 8:  Nouryon minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) summary


In conclusion, the challenges facing agrochemical formulators today are numerous and complex. The ever-changing regulatory environment along with evolving pest spectrums and applications technologies will require formulators to adopt new methods and technologies. Nouryon stands with our formulation partners to address these challenges and is committed to continuing to bring industry leading solutions and services to the market.


1Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2024, Pest and Pesticide Management, <https://www.fao.org/pest-and-pesticide-management/about/understanding-the-context/en/>


This document contains select information relating only to the product(s) and/or end use(s) identified. All information contained herein is offered in good faith and are believed to be reliable. Nouryon, however, makes no warranty as to the accuracy and/or sufficiency of such information, as to the merchantability or fitness of the product(s) listed for any particular purpose, or that any suggested use will not infringe any patent. Any person using the product(s) must determine for themselves, by preliminary tests or otherwise, the suitability of the product(s) for their purposes. This disclaimer is effective to the extent allowed by law and any provisions ruled not recognized or deemed unsuitable are considered severed from the disclaimer and the remaining provisions shall continue to have the full force and effect. 



This article will be published in AgroPages' upcoming '2024 Formulation&Adjuvant Technology' magazine.

If you'd  like to participate in it to show your insights and solutions or for any promotion demands, please contact Grace Yuan: grace@agropages.com

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Source: Nouryon

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