After three years of testing, researchers have determined that the commercial mix of the herbicides glyphosate and 2,4-D produced in a company’s laboratories is more effective than manual mixes produced in tanks — and they were also found to have a lesser environmental impact. The research was done at the University of Córdoba in Spain and published in the journal Environmental Pollution.
Glyphosate and 2,4-D are two herbicides widely used to combat broad-leaved weeds and unwanted grasses in fields. Glyphosate is characterized by its strong absorption into the soil, rapid biodegradation, and lower toxicity. Its predominance in the world crop protection market is mostly due to its use on crops like rapeseed, cotton, corn, and soybeans, especially in the Western Hemisphere, and in Mediterranean Europe on perennial crops (olive groves, vineyards, and almond groves).
Along this line, the study by the University of Córdoba found that the commercial mixture formulated in laboratories of the herbicides glyphosate and 2,4-D is more effective and has a lower environmental impact than manual mixing performed in tanks by people, sometimes done in certain parts of the world without sufficient training.
To conduct the research, the teams used in vivo techniques (tests with greenhouse plants) and in vitro (biochemical tests) on two different broad-leaved plants that are difficult to control due to their natural resistance to and tolerance of glyphosate. In this regard, Conyzacanadensis and Epilobiumciliatum, gathered in Spanish and Chilean olive groves, respectively, were analyzed.
“The objective was to determine the effectiveness of the formulated mixture vs the tank mixture with respect to weed control, environmental impact and application cost,” explained Professor Rafael De Prado.
The project was carried out both in the field, with the help of the Autonomous University of Chapingo (Mexico), the Federal University of Sao Carlos (Brazil), the MAIBA-INTA, Argentina, and the ETSIAM, where the lab studies were conducted. The UCO research team, together with the three Latin American universities, concluded that environmental and economic risks could be reduced, and effectiveness controlling these difficult-to-control weeds could be boosted 10 percent to 20 percent using glyphosate.