Separation and Identification of Surfactants Found in Glyphosate-Based Herbicides
In recent years, Roundup and other glyphosate-based herbicides have shown correlation to causing non-Hodgkin lymphoma in humans. However, carcinogenic studies of the active ingredient in these herbicides, glyphosate, report that there is no link between glyphosate exposure and cancer. Therefore, studies are now shifting the focus on a separate series of chemicals that function as dispersal agents for the glyphosate compounds, called surfactants, since these compounds have been shown to be more carcinogenic than the glyphosate itself. In this project, we propose a method to separate and isolate compounds found in store-bought herbicides using a technique called high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Using this technique, we seek to develop an automated method which will isolate and separate our target compounds from a commercial sample of pesticides to better characterize these compounds and provide a starting point for future synthesis. Ultimately, we hope to use this data to synthesize new and less toxic surfactants made from natural and renewable sources.