A novel system for reducing leaching from formulations of anionic herbicides: Clay-liposomes

Tomas Undabeytia*, Yael Golda Mishael, Shlomo Nir, Brigitte Papahadjopoulos-Sternberg, Baruch Rubin, Esmeralda Morillo, Celia Maqueda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


A new approach was developed for reducing leaching of herbicides and contamination of groundwater. Liposome-clay formulations of the anionic herbicides sulfometuron and sulfosulfuron were designed for slow release by incorporating the herbicide in positively charged vesicles of didodecyldimethylammonium (DDAB), which were adsorbed on the negatively charged clay, montmorillonite. Freeze fracture electron microscopy demonstrated the existence of DDAB vesicles and aggregated structures on external clay surfaces. X-ray diffraction results for DDAB with montmorillonite imply the existence of DDAB bilayers with an oblique orientation to the basal plane within the clay interlayer space at adsorbed amounts beyond the cation exchange capacity of the clay. Adding DDAB with sulfometuron or sulfosulfuron to montmorillonite yielded 95% or 83% adsorption of the herbicide at optimal ratios. Liposome-clay formulations exhibited slow release of the herbicides in water. Analytical measurements in soil columns demonstrated 2-10-fold reduction in leaching of the herbicides from liposome-clay formulations in comparison with commercial formulations. Percents of root growth inhibition of a test plant in the upper soil depths were severalfold higher for the liposome-clay formulations than for the commercial ones. Consequently, liposome-clay formulations of anionic herbicides can solve environmental and economical problems by reducing their leaching.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4475-4480
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number19
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2003


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