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From synthesis to the field

Posted in: 2020, November 29

Oxiteno develops its solutions through close relationships with its customers and technological partners, technical expertise, capabilities, and operational excellence.

We work in partnership from the project’s design. For a pesticide to be safely applied to crops, to have superior performance, and to contribute to greater productivity, we go through several stages of research and testing together.

Throughout the process, we have a robust structure of laboratories and a team of experts in agrochemicals, with in-depth technical, scientific, and practical knowledge.

Our Research and Development (R&D) Center, in Maua, Sao Paulo State, has recently been expanded. It has the equipment and infrastructure that allow us to develop new products from synthesis to the field. 

Special feature: Services

More than a supplier of agrochemical additives, we are partners with our customers. We focus on understanding challenges and working on solutions that will help our customers to stand out in the market. 


In the first phase of development, our experts get to know customers’ needs and propose the structure for some molecules considered to be promising: prototypes. This process is based on knowhow from our scientists, scientific research published by academics from around the world and also on previous trials.

The prototypes are tested on the laboratory bench, and their feasibility is assessed. Once approved at this stage, production is scheduled at the Pilot Plant. 

The Pilot Plant

The Pilot Plant replicates industrial production conditions on a small scale. We are able then to perform tests faster, consuming fewer reagents and minimizing risks

Our structure has nine multi-purpose reactors and other equipment to synthesize molecules. At the Pilot Plant, we can produce ethoxylated, propoxylated compounds, and block copolymers, and perform esterification and polymerization reactions.

Once the synthesis of molecules has been proven feasible on the Pilot Plant scale, the next step is formulation testing.

Formulation Testing 

In the same way a drug can be in several formats – pill, syrup, ointment, injectable, and so on, the assets of an agrochemical need to be transformed, through formulations, into forms that are suitable for use. For a pesticide to achieve the desired performance in the field, it must be appropriately applied and compliant with its features.

Oxiteno develops formulants, co-formulants, solvents, and surfactants for agro formulations. During the development stage, the behavior of the active ingredients is studied. 

Based on these properties, the most appropriate formulation is established and, consequently, which formulating agents will be needed. The optimal formula should ensure that the active ingredient is stable and biologically available to play its role in the field. The balance between the active ingredient, surfactants, solvents, and other aggregates ensures the precision and effectiveness of the application.

The choice for a particular type of formulation depends on several factors, including the physical-chemical features of the active ingredient and its biological efficiency. Oxiteno has the equipment and structure for the development of liquid and solid formulations with a wide range of emulsifing, dispersing and co-dispersing, stabilizers, coupling agents, solvents and taylor made solutions

The mill is used for formulations in which the active ingredients are not soluble in water or another solvent, such as concentrated suspensions. It minimizes the particle size of the compound and helps in its dispersion. The greater the power of the mill, the greater the efficiency in reducing the dimensions of the particulate material.

There are also solid formulations, such as the WG (water-soluble granule). In this formulation, a mixture of mostly solid products is subjected to extrusion or other process, to have granules prepared.

The combinations created during the formulation development process are finally tested to ensure that they will be appropriately solubilized, meeting all the desired application and performance requirements.

Physical-Chemical Laboratory

Nature designed the angles, grooves, and imperfections of the leaves. Raindrops slide on the leaf surface and fall to the ground, from where the roots absorb it. 

However, in the field, the efficient application of pesticides requires adherence to the leaves or other plant and soil structures, depending on the target and action mechanism of the active ingredient. 

This is why the research carried out in Oxiteno’s physical-chemical laboratory is relevant: to accurately assess the composition of formulations to suit the mode, target, and correct dose of the product, ensuring the safety and effectiveness of the application.

The search for the best combination of optimal size and concentration in the sprayed drops is part of Oxiteno’s researchers’ daily routines. And that is not all.

What is the appropriate composition for formulants, co-formulants, solvents, and surfactants to ensure precision, effectiveness, and safety in the application? What is the contact angle that allows complete coverage and the highest productivity?

Oxiteno’s agrochemical experts research, develop and test solutions in the company’s physical-chemical laboratory, at the Research and Development Center, in Maua, Sao Paulo State, to find answers to these and other questions. 

The laboratory has high technology, precision equipment to analyze physical and chemical phenomena that contribute to customers’ and partners’ success. 

The structure allows the development of optimized, unique solutions which will guarantee the performance of the products applied and the success of the harvest for farmers.

A rheometer, for example, is used to measure how a liquid or suspension flows according to its viscosity, elasticity, and other properties.

This allows Oxiteno researchers to establish, given customers’ and partners’ needs, the best handling of a solution in terms of application or even how easy the product will be transferred between tanks. 

The particle size analyser, in turn, analyzes the particle size through laser diffraction. 

This makes possible to check the size of a particle – on a nanometric or micrometric scale – and develop better formulations to optimize the result, according to the type of formulation and action mechanism of the product and the target. 

Monitoring the size of suspended particles is critical to establish the quality and shelf life of a formulation, after all, uniform distribution in the formula, and later in the tank, is one of the main requirements for the stability and effectiveness of the application. 

The stabilization of the particles prevents the formation of agglomerates and the clogging of the applicators’ nozzles, allowing the operation to be smooth and uniform to control weeds, diseases, and pests across crop fields. 

To predict how a solution will behave over time, we use a analytical centrifuge checks the stability of the product and its dispersion when samples are subjected to acceleration. 

In this way, we can analyze whether the product maintains the stability of its primary and basic features within the scope of the solution, even after a long period before use. 

To analyze the behavior of the formulation during application, tests are carried out to measure the surface tension of the mixture and study the application angles, allowing the selection of the best combination between product, application, and target regarding the contact angle. 

The Drop Tensiometer, for example, assesses the size, weight, surface tension, spreadability, and adherence to the target. It is then possible to optimize the spray solution so that the product achieves maximum productivity.

The Bubble Tensiometer, on the other hand, is used to measure dynamic surface tensions, similar to those in the application nozzle, in addition to migration times of the surfactants, adsorption, and bubble life. 

With this feature, the application becomes much more effective and economically efficient, minimizing the risks of improper product dispersion and control failures in the applied area.

The investment in application technology, available in the physical-chemical laboratory, positions Oxiteno as a reference in studies of development and the application of agrochemicals, in addition to allowing a constant expansion of the portfolio and the improvement of delivery systems in the field. 

The expertise and know-how acquired through studies, research, and applications are available to customers and partners looking for personalized technical support. 

Oxiteno’s commitment and contribution to the future of agribusiness are to develop, through partnerships and collaboration, solutions that innovate and contribute to the sustainable management of the field.

Analytical Laboratory

It is in the Analytical Laboratory that the products synthesized in the pilot plant and tested in the Physical-Chemical Laboratory, undergo another series of experiments. Each step of this process receives all the necessary attention, ensuring safety and quality from the synthesis to the field.

An example is packaging compatibility tests. The Analytical Laboratory also performs analysis of the products under development, such as the level of acidity, basicity, and their exact chemical composition.

The Analytical does diverse, precise, and complex studies with the ultimate goal of obtaining product certification, guaranteeing the quality and safety of the process, in addition to scaling up production. 

The effectiveness of a pesticide depends on these analyzes of characterization, specification, and control of its formulation. They determine whether the product will perform its function in the field to a standard of excellence.

Application Laboratory

From the synthesis of the formulation components to their arrival in the field, pesticides undergo a series of tests to guarantee their quality, effectiveness, and safety. In a first step, tests are carried out in the bench and after that tests that simulate real situations of product application.

Located in Mauá, Greater São Paulo, the Application Laboratory of Oxiteno’s Oxiteno Research and Development Center has equipment that replicates application conditions. So, researchers can assess the behavior of the formulation on a much smaller scale and quickly. 

The results allow formulators to make corrections or improvements so that the crop protection product reaches the field being safe to people and the environment.  

Oxiteno’s massive investment in research and development and highly-skilled professionals and cutting-edge equipment positions its Research and Development Center as the most complete and distinguished in the region. 

The “growth chamber,” for example, is like a greenhouse, where some species of plants are grown for application tests. In it, the researchers also test the stability of the products after application, exposing them to different levels of light, temperature, and moisture, changing day and night cycles. 

The performance of pesticides in the field is also guaranteed by the “phytotoxicity test,” which checks if the formulation does not injure crop leaves. It is at this point that the researchers observe any deviation from the standard and the need for correction.

The highlight of the Application Laboratory, the “spray chamber” is an outstanding item of equipment in the market. It makes it possible to regulate the speed, pressure, and time of the jets, accurately simulating crop spraying.  

The spray chamber can also analyze the product’s resistance to rain – that is, its ability to fix and remain on the leaves even after they are washed with rainwater.  

All of these processes ensure that the final product formulation maintains its properties regardless of the extent of the application, enabling the same result efficiency throughout the plantation.

 Specialized structures and state-of-the-art equipment are necessary throughout the process of developing a formulation for agriculture. 

From synthesis, through physical, chemical, and analytical analysis, formulation compatibility tests, and practical application tests, to use in the field, Oxiteno produces quality, high efficiency, and safe products.