Investigation of Renewable Surfactants for Herbicides.
Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Roundup®, a widely popular herbicide. Glyphosate is used because it is able to halt protein synthesis which stops plants from growing. Worldwide, 280 million pounds of glyphosate, which is used in most herbicides, are used on 298 million acres of land annually. A surfactant is a type of chemical used in many applications but is used in herbicides to disperse glyphosate long distances. It is suspected that the surfactant used in Roundup® may be a source of toxicity and possibly even be carcinogenic. Surfactants can be created from carbohydrates and fatty acids, which are large biomolecules that are naturally occurring, renewable, and nontoxic. In an attempt to create greener herbicides, this research focused on synthesizing and investigating the properties of renewable surfactants.