The design and tests of slow-release formulations of sulfometuron (SFM), an anionic sulfonylurea herbicide, are described. The formulations are based on incorporation of the herbicide in octadecyltrimethylammonium (ODTMA) micelles, which adsorb on a clay mineral, montmorillonite. An optimization of herbicide/micelle clay ratios yielded high adsorption of SFM (95%), and at a 1% (w/w) water suspension only 0.5% of the adsorbed SFM was released at times varying from hours to 9 days. An analytical test in Seville soil showed that under excessive irrigation (400 mm) 100% of the commercial formulation leached, whereas the micelle-clay formulations showed only 50-65% elution. A plant bioassay in Rehovot soil showed that the commercial dispersible granule formulation (Oust, 75% ai sulfometuron methyl) yielded only 23% root elongation inhibition at the top 5 cm of the soil, whereas complete inhibition was achieved with the micelle-clay formulation. The detected concentration of SFM for the micelle-clay formulation at a depth of 15-20 cm was half of that detected for the commercial one, indicating a reduction in leaching when applying the micelle-clay formulation. A 10-fold reduction in the applied dose of SFM in the micelle-clay formulations resulted in good herbicidal activity of 60-87% inhibition. These characteristics make the new formulation promising from the environmental and economic points of view.
- Slow release
- Soil column