Surfactants - Knowledgebase Question

Moneta, VA
Avatar for paitsee1
Question by paitsee1
February 11, 2000
I would like to know what is a surfactant and why would you use it?

Answer from NGA
February 11, 2000
Surfactants, also known as additives or adjuvants, improve pesticide coverage, thus reducing the amount needed and the risk of drift. When added to a pesticide, a surfactant reduces the surface tension between two unlike materials. For instance, it may help oil and water mix to form a spray, or it may help spray droplets stick to a leaf.

Many pesticide products contain surfactants, and some products suggest adding a surfactant when you mix the pesticide for spraying. The most common surfactants include suspension agents to help keep a pesticide suspended, disperants to enhance dispersion of the spray, or spreading and sticking agents, which increase wetting of leaves, fruits and stems, and improve the material's adherence to a plant surface.

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