The current research in herbicide application aims to develop formulations that reduce leaching of the herbicide to deep layers of the soil and to concentrate its biological activity at the top layers. Adsorption of metolachlor on clay minerals, their organic derivatives or pillared forms provides the best possibility to develop slow-release formulations. Metolachlor is a selective pre-emergence herbicide widely used in irrigated crops to control annual weeds. It is adsorbed by bentonites and montmorillonites, but the amount adsorbed strongly depends on the type of bentonite and possible pretreatment reactions. Wyoming bentonites adsorbed considerable amounts of metolachlor but other bentonites did not bind this herbicide. An acid-activated pillared montmorillonite was also an effective adsorbent of metolachlor. Modification of this sample by preadsorbing different amounts of benzyl trimethylammonium ions did not influence the level of herbicide adsorption. The biological efficiency of the formulations was tested with bioassay soil columns. Slow-release formulations could be prepared with raw bentonites and the acid-activated pillared montmorillonite. A formulation, prepared by adsorbing metolachlor from aqueous solution on the acid-activated pillared montmorillonite, showed high herbicide activity at the top 10 cm, and did not diffuse significantly to greater depths. This formulation should allow a better weed control than the commercial formulations.
- Pillared montmorillonite