Agrochemicals for sustainable farming
Farmers today have to consider and master a variety of complex challenges. Apart from climatic changes such as drought and soil erosion, they have to meet global demands and the increasing needs of consumers.
To remain competitive and profitable, they need to invest in both agricultural productivity and new technologies.
Our ability to transform market needs into new products and services makes us a preferred partner in the crop protection industry. Our globally integrated production network ensures an optimized supply chain. Clariant’s deep agronomical and agrochemical understanding enables us to provide first-class formulation guidance and optimized recommendations.
Explore our solutions
Agrochemicals are used as formulations based on one or more active ingredient(s). Formulations guarantee easy application, highest performance and safe handling.
Depending on the stability, physical properties and application profile of the specific active ingredient, it must be decided whether a solid or liquid formulation and which specific type is most suitable. In addition, formulations usually contain additional components which may increase the activity or improve handling for the user.
An auxiliary, which is added to increase the effectiveness of an agrochemical, is called adjuvant. This may be due to several modes of action, such as facilitated wetting, penetration, or better retention. Our Synergen® brand offers a range of proven bio performance enhancers.
The term "adjuvant" is often used for additives which are added to the spray liquid in the tank before application (so called "tank-mix adjuvants") while adjuvants incorporated in the formulation are called "built-in” or “in-can adjuvants". Adjuvants are traditionally most frequently combined with herbicides, however the use for fungicides and insecticides is increasing.
The formulation of an active ingredient as an emulsifiable concentrate (EC) is still common as it is simple to manufacture and low in cost. It contains the active ingredient, a solvent and an emulsifier system that allows the formulation to be mixed with water to form a stable emulsion. The specific auxiliaries offered by Clariant immediately give a uniform and stable emulsion that can be applied on the crop.
The commonly used emulsifier system is a blend of one anionic emulsifier with one or more non-ionic emulsifier components (ethoxylates or alkoxylates).
Emulsion in water
From an environmental point of view, the best solvent is of course water. In EWs, the active ingredient is usually dissolved in an organic solvent which is emulsified in water (liquid a.i.s may also be directly emulsified without an additional solvent).
For EWs emulsifiers are required which give long-term storage-stable emulsions. The starting point can be based on common emulsifiable concentrate (EC) emulsifier systems. Emulsion stability is further improved by the use of additional co-emulsifiers or high-performance emulsifiers.
One of the latest formulation types are oil dispersions (ODs). This technology allows very efficient and environmentally friendly agrochemical formulations.
In ODs the solid active ingredient is dispersed in the oil phase, making it especially suitable for water-sensitive or non-soluble active ingredients. When the oil dispersion comes into contact with water the formulation can either form an emulsion or a suspo emulsion.
The oil-phase can comprise different oils such as mineral oils, vegetable oils or esters of vegetable oils.
Special attention is needed with the auxiliaries in ODs: suitable oil-compatible dispersing agents and emulsifiers adjusted to the type of oil which form a stable emulsion after dilution with water.
Because of their environmental compatibility, aqueous suspension concentrates (SCs) are increasingly replacing solvent-containing formulations. Sparingly soluble active ingredients are dispersed with suitable wetting and dispersing agents to give storage-stable dispersion.
The auxiliaries required are dispersing and wetting agents, optionally adjuvants as well as defoamers, thickeners, preservatives and antifreeze products.
Sometimes it is necessary to combine active ingredients with strongly differing physical properties in one formulation to gain a broader activity spectrum.
A suspo emulsion (SE) consists of an organic phase with a dissolved active ingredient and an aqueous suspension phase, in which the active ingredient is dispersed in water.
The emulsifier/dispersing and wetting system used is normally designed from components of the EC/EW emulsifier system (emulsifiable concentrate/emulsion in water) and the SC (suspension concentrate) dispersing and wetting system.
Active ingredients which dissolve readily in water (usually salts of herbicidal compounds) can be formulated as soluble liquids (SL). To achieve a better wetting on plant leaves, additional wetting agents can be added to the concentrate. The biological performance is further improved by using adjuvants.
By far the most important active ingredient formulated as SL is Glyphosate in form of its salts.
The most common adjuvants for Glyphosate are fatty amine ethoxylates (Genamin® grades). However, certain amphoteric surfactants are gaining more importance (see our Synergen® range).
An excellent solution for Glyphosate and other aqueous formulations which combines high efficacy with a perfect environmental profile is Synergen® GL 5, a unique adjuvant which is derived from renewable resources.
Water dispersible granule
Solid formulations have the advantage of not containing any (critical) solvent. Water dispersible granules (WG) have more and more substituted wettable powders (WP) due to their reduced inhalation hazard during handling. However, a higher amount of wetting and dispersing agents is required since the easy and quick formation of a suspension after dilution of the granules with water is crucial.
Solid formulations usually require the addition of a tank-mix adjuvant to achieve the desired performance.
The robustness, safety and ease of handling of agrochemical formulations are the starting point of your growing business. The choice of the best performing adjuvants together with the use of most economic but also environmentally friendly ingredients will sustainably be convincing for farmers and registration authorities and improve the life cycles of your products.
What can you expect from Clariant?
- Up-to-date formulation expertise for all standard liquid formulations types like SL, SC, EC, SE, ME, OD etc.
- Formulation support for challenging e.g. multi-active agrochemical products.
- Fine-tuned selection of formulation excipients and adjuvants according to your formulation requirements and marketing claims, e.g. cost-effective, premium or “green”.
- Adoption of your formulation to regional regulatory prerequisites.
- Expertise for various up-scaling and production procedures
The Clariant Crop Protection Team understands that guiding our customer through these challenging tasks is a valuable service and goes beyond the pure selling of a chemical product. Therefore we are supporting companies by offering the following service features:
- Development of robust formulations according to customer needs
- Modification of existing formulations in line with specific requirements
- Evaluation of formulations with regard to performance and environmental impact
- Optimized deployment of adjuvants
- Obtain up-to date expert formulations ready for up-scaling and registration
- Optimization of formulations in view of regulatory or economic challenges
- Position your formulation in the competitive landscape by using the most valuable marketing claims
- Benefit from the optimized bioavailability of your active ingredients with respect to the targeted weeds and climate conditions
Understanding the regulatory environment is a decisive factor to the success of our customer’s crop protection formulation. The active ingredient might have a perfect quality and the formulation might be superior to the market benchmarks. Still regulatory pitfalls prevent generics from selling into their market.
What could happen?
- The local patent situation does not allow generics to sell a product into their target market
- Certain formulations components are not listed in the local inventory (TSCA, REACh etc.)
- The suppliers have not supported agro specific applications and corresponding exposure scenarios (e.g. EPA, REACh)
- The toxicological and eco-toxicological profile of components does not meet local regulatory requirements
The Clariant Crop Protection Team understands that guiding our customer through these minefields is a valuable service and goes beyond the pure selling of a chemical product. Therefore we are supporting agrochemical companies by offering the following service features.
- Guide customers through local regulation requirements and discuss specific impacts
- Support your registration of products for crop uses in specific inventories
- Provide product specific information and conduct testing on toxicity, eco-toxicity if necessary
- Assist you in the screening of the patent landscape around our products and formulations
- Provide new product or formulation recommendations to optimize customer portfolio
- Reduce the risk of stepping into a regulatory trap
- No limitation to marketing activities. No localized formulation design
- Design the formulation in a sustainable way and offer meaningful value proposition to farmers
- Reduce the risk of patent infringements and achieve a better planning of product launches
- Get an expert view on the active portfolio and suggestions on new products meeting tomorrows requirements
Off-patent active ingredient solutions
According to estimates the market share of patent protected pesticides is continuously declining and nowadays represent only about 25% of the pesticides market. Further patents for important active ingredients are about to expire in the next years. This means that competition in the agrochemical market will increase and there are growing opportunities for new players.
What is important to know?
- When do relevant patents for pesticides expire and are there other barriers to enter a market like SPCs (Supplementary Protection Certificates) or longer data protection periods?
- What are the most relevant markets for a pesticide geographically, what are the most important target crops and how is it used ?
- Will it be sufficient to enter a market with a re-engineered 1:1 replacement product or is it more promising to offer a further developed product with additional benefits like improved labeling or efficacy?
The Clariant Crop Protection Team understands that guiding our customer through these challenging tasks is a valuable service and goes beyond the pure selling of a chemical product. Therefore we are supporting agrochemical companies by offering the following service features:
- Monitoring which active ingredients will become off-patent
- Identification of the most promising formulations under consideration of the most relevant regions, market formulations and target crops
- Guide recipes for existing market benchmark products
- Development of improved formulations with advantages versus market standards (e.g. in terms of labeling, higher loading, higher efficacy)
- Early formulation suggestions for promising active ingredients
- Matching proposals based on inert ingredients according to regional requirements
- Faster time-to-market as well as significantly reduced development costs
- Options to differentiate from the competition, gain faster and higher market share with outstanding products