Biobased herbicides based on pelargonic acid


Istituto per lo Studio dei Materiali Nanostrutturati, CNR, Palermo, Italy

Reflecting their large-scale utilization across the world, the global market for herbicides exceeded $25 billion revenues in 2017 only (1). The use of herbicide formulations is heavily regulated in most world’s countries. Yet, the environmental and health problems associated to their use are significant and widespread (2).

Perhaps not surprisingly, the societal megatrends currently reshaping the chemical industry (3) can be observed also in this highly profitable segment of the industry. Several environmentally friendly herbicides, indeed, were lately introduced to meet the increasing demand of entirely safe herbicides exerting their function, without harming health or the environment.

Amid them herbicidal and blossom thinner formulations based on pelargonic acid as active ingredient hold large growth potential. Owing its name to Pelargoniun roseum from whose essential oil it was first isolated in 1845, pelargonic acid (CH3(CH2)7CO2H, n-nonanoic acid) is a saturated, nine-carbon fatty acid naturally occurring in numerous vegetables and fr ...