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Soybean field

Micronutrients (plant nutrition)

Plants require nutrients which are essential for successful growth and optimum yields. Without their presence, the consequences can range from stunted growth, leaf discoloration and loss of fruiting bodies, all of which lead to reduced crop yields.

Plants must obtain the following nutrients from the soil:

  • Primary macronutrients - nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K),
  • Secondary macronutrients - sulphur (S), calcium (Ca), and magnesium (Mg)
  • Micronutrients - boron (B), chlorine (Cl), cobalt (Co), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo) and zinc (Zn)

Macronutrients are required in larger amounts, whereas micronutrients are only required in very small amounts (parts per million). Plants require a proper balance of all the essential nutrients for normal growth.

Most soil conditions across the world can provide plants with the majority of nutrition they require. However due to things like, intensive agricultural methods and crops designed to grow bigger and more rapidly, nutrients are being stripped from the soil.

Nutrients can be present in different ratios, which may not be suitable for a particular crop. If a particular nutrient is lacking from the soil or if farmers want to promote vigorous growth and increase yield then fertilizers and micronutrient products can be applied.

To make the nutrient more available to the plant, micronutrients are typically formulated as liquid products. They have a high solid content and the active ingredients (i.e. the micronutrients) are usually very dense. This means they are very susceptible to sedimentation and other destabilising forces. Therefore choosing the correct dispersant is important to being able to produce a successful formulation.

Micronutrients are often formulated as suspension concentrates (SC) and oil dispersions (OD). We have numerous products that are capable of performing in these conditions and example formulation recipes that you can follow.

Specifically designed for micronutrients our Atlox™ PN-100 dispersant can incorporate high concentrations of inorganic solids into aqueous suspensions. Micronutrient formulations can be incompatible with other plant protective products, such as glyphosate. The inclusion of Atlox PN-100 in the micronutrient formation makes it possible to tank mix it with glyphosate.

Atlox™ PN-100

Product details

Atlox PN-100 product overview sheet

Soybean field
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Video demonstration

The chemistry of micronutrients tends to be incompatible with herbicides such as glyphosate. However, a micronutrient formulated with Atlox PN-100 makes this possible.

The video demonstration compares a manganese carbonate 800 g/L SC made with Atlox PN-100 with a commercial manganese carbonate formulation. The formulations were added to a glyphosate solution and diluted into water. The formulation containing Atlox PN-100 has good stability and displayed better; dispersion, compatibility, initial bloom and incorporation.
Scientist testing a crop protection formulation

The Formulator's Toolbox

We have designed The Formulator’s Toolbox to give formulation scientists an introduction to each of these formulation types.

Grape vines in the sun

Suspension concentrate (SC)

In the agrochemical industry, suspension concentrate (SC) formulations have grown in popularity due to benefits such as absence of dust and ease of use. An SC is defined as an insoluble active ingredient dispersed in an aqueous medium.

Good corn harvest

Oil dispersion (OD)

In the agrochemical industry, oil dispersion (OD) formulations are an excellent delivery system for water sensitive active ingredients such as sulfonylureas. An OD is defined as a solid active ingredient dispersed in oil.

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