Adjuvants are inert ingredients that are added to a pesticide formulation to alter its physical and/ or chemical properties to improve its efficacy. Adjuvants are added to assist/improve the ability of the formulation to: n be retained on the plant, i.e. not bounce or run off leaf surfaces that are difficult to wet such as waxy (water repellent) and hairy leaves, n achieve a satisfactory coverage of the plant, i.e. good retention and even distribution of the active ingredient, and n be compatible with the plant surface (contact action) or penetrate the plant (systemic action) whose leaf cuticle protects the plant from water loss but provides a strong barrier against pesticides.
Many pesticides include an adjuvant in the formulation. Other pesticides require an adjuvant to be added to the solution for some or all label use patterns. If an adjuvant is to be added, the type and rate will be specified in the Critical Comments section of the Directions for Use table and/or under a separate heading like ‘surfactants/wetting agents’ in the General Instructions section of the label. Unless the addition of an adjuvant is specified on the product label, don’t add one. Adjuvants may be toxic to humans and/or the environment. Many glyphosate formulations include an adjuvant, POEA (polyoxyethylene amine), that is toxic to frogs and is the reason glyphosate labels include Safety Directions to avoid skin and eye contact. For use near water, glyphosate products such as Roundup Biactive that include a different surfactant not toxic to aquatic life are recommended.
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