A new retention system that could reduce pesticide use
US scientists find a way of getting plants to retain pesticide administered in small amounts
PESTICIDE SPRAYING has a retention problem: only two per cent of the spray sticks to the plants, while a significant portion bounces off the plants into agricultural lands, and the runoff eventually pollutes our water sources. Now a team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found a way which could allow farmers to get the same effects by using just 1/10th of the pesticide. They have developed a combination of two inexpensive additives to the spray—each prepared with a different polymer substance. One gives the solution a negative electric charge; the other results in a positive charge. When two of the oppositely-charged droplets meet on a leaf surface, they form surface and increases the retention. The researchers hope to conduct field trials of the new system in small farms in India.
Nature Communications, August 30