Non-persistent agrochemicals using transient structures
Starting a trend in the ‘70s, the most persistent pesticides were doomed to be banned for use in the environmentally-conscious world. However, even pesticides that were classified as “non-persistent” have a certain lifetime in the environment, and current research shows that they have a non-negligible effect in the environment and in humans.
However, the problem is not limited to pesticides: other, less harmful chemicals such as fertilizers and health promoters also have negative effect on the environment. Therefore, when we design an agrochemical, we aim to provide a product that can survive just long enough to perform its task.
This approach can be realized by putting to use the transient structures concept. Transient structures are structures that are deliberately designed to break up, in a specific way, to simple, safe, molecules. These resulting molecules can be benign or have an additional effect.
Such transient structures can break up by a host of triggers, biotic or abiotic depending on their properties. Examples are changes in pH, response to UV light, oxidation and bacterial attack.
Other transient structures are beneficial also by performing as delivery vessels for nutrients. Once they release the nutrient, it becomes available to the crop and subsequently they lose their activity and environmental effect.