Use of Spray Adjuvant to Enhance the Movement of Insecticides through Plant Canopies to the Target




Pesticide adjuvants are substances other than water that are added to the pesticide formulation, to enhance the effectiveness of the pesticide. Adjuvants used for agricultural applications have been categorized as extenders, wetting agents, sticking agents and fogging agents. They are accepted amongst pesticides users and are reported to have been used for almost as long as pesticides. The overall adjuvant market is estimated at $1 billion in US or 35% of pesticide market.


Description of Technologies


This invention is a tank-mix spray adjuvant that significantly increases the efficiency of pesticide delivery to underlying soil and water through an established canopy of plants, causing more pesticide to reach the soil or water below. The adjuvant changes the surface properties of the pesticide-containing droplets causing the droplets to bounce off the foliar surfaces, and to reach the soil or water more efficiently. The negative and costly effects of reduced canopy penetration are uneven distribution of the pesticide, and the need to apply additional pesticide to compensate for the loss to foliar surfaces.


Key Benefits

  • More efficient canopy penetration: The adjuvant causes liquid pesticide formulations to bounce through the plant canopy to the underlying soil or water. Alternatively, pesticides adhere to foliar surfaces and do not reach the targeted area of application, resulting in costly compensatory measures to compensate for the loss to foliar surfaces. 
  • Improves efficacy of active ingredient: Moving the pesticide through the canopy to the soil or water below increases efficacy of the active ingredient. 
  • Reduces pesticides application costs: Moving the pesticide through the canopy allows a reduction in the amount of active ingredient used, lowering cost and improving environmental metrics. 
  • Potentially safer for food crops: Food crops where the leaf structure is edible will retain less pesticide that could be ingested by consumers since less pesticide is retained on the edible foliar surface.




Technology can be used for controlling mosquito larvacides through plant canopies, pre-emergent herbicideal application for weed control, and insecticide applications for soil insects (including root and stem boring insects) after the crop is established. Insecticide examples include turf (European chafer control), tomato (Cutworm), and corn (Army worm & Stem borer).


Patent Status


US 2006/0088563 A1 (filed Oct 25, 2004)




Donald Penner


Tech ID




Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University
Donald Penner