Understanding Agrochemicals

Understanding Agrochemicals

Agrochemicals is a term used to describe a broad range of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides that are utilized within the agricultural sectors to manage ecosystems. Simple forms of agrochemicals have been used for thousands of years (as early as 2,500 B.C.) for pest control and to improve crop yields.

Some of the first recorded uses of agrochemicals were found in Sumer - the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia, now modern-day southern Iraq - where farmers had been found to have used Sulphur (S) compounds to control the population of insects and help avoid famine as a result of severe pest infestations.

As the development and manufacture of synthetic chemicals improved and progressed, this hugely improved pesticide processes. These improvements have helped accommodate the planet’s ever-increasing global population and the resulting increase in demands for food. Despite this progress however, it is estimated that up to 40% of the world’s crops are ruined by diseases and plant pests, even with the improved efficiency and application of modern pesticides.

Types of Agrochemicals

Agrochemicals are used conscientiously and actively in order to ensure that the global food supply is adequately maintained and is, of course, safe for mass consumption. Common forms of agrochemicals include:

  • Synthetic fertilizers – these are designed to saturate soils with nutrients, thus encouraging crops to grow. A common example of this is ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3).
  • Pesticides – these specific chemicals are designed to destroy harmful organisms such as weeds, insects or fungi, therefore reducing the risk of spoiled crop yields.
  • Growth hormones – these synthetic chemicals are designed to increase the rate of growth in crops and animals.
  • Soil conditioners – these are specifically designed to condition soils with high sodium (Na) contents, therefore improving planting conditions. A common example of this is gypsum (CaSO4·2H2O).
  • Liming agents and acidifiers – these chemicals are engineered to adjust the pH levels of soils where specific types of crops require this.

New agrochemical methods are being engineered all the time and current developments include crops that produce their own insecticides and crops that are synthetically-resistant to herbicides.

How are Agrochemicals Made?

Methods of producing agrochemicals can differ greatly, especially given the sheer range of agrochemicals available today. These generally rely on large-scale, industrial production processes that start with specially developed, custom chemical building blocks.

About CABB

CABB Group GmbH is a leading custom manufacturer of starting materials, active ingredients and advanced intermediates; a major producer of high-purity monochloroacetic acid; and a supplier of premium fine chemicals. We are small enough to focus on attentive customer partnerships, yet large enough to master complex chemical synthesis. Customers benefit from CABB’s manufacturing excellence, product quality, security of supply, and collaborative approach to sourcing solutions.  Custom manufacturing services are offered from three complementary multi-purpose production sites: Kokkola, Finland; Pratteln,Switzerland; and Galena, Kansas USA ("Jayhawk")."

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by CABB Group GmbH and Nexam Chemical AB.

For more information on this source, please visit CABB


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