Agricultural surfactants can be dispersed in water, providing rapid wetting, penetration and spreading for agricultural chemicals. Plant-based surfactants can effectively reduce the surface tension of agricultural chemicals to 20~21 dyne, so as to greatly improve the use efficiency of agricultural chemicals. Natural surfactants from plants can be applied in agricultural chemicals such as herbicides, insecticides and fungicides, increasing the absorption of chemicals by crops and plants and improving the resistance to rain erosion. Surfactants in agrochemicals can also increase the spray coverage.
The use of organic ligands to enhance phytoremediation of heavy metal contaminated soil is a common measure to improve the phytoremediation effect, but most organic ligands cause secondary pollution, which limits their application in soil heavy metal remediation. Enhanced phytoremediation with bio-surfactant for weed killer will not only make up for this shortfall, but also reduce costs. The application of bio-surfactant for lawns in remediation of heavy metal contaminated soil and the mechanism of removing heavy metal by bio-organic surfactants for plants indicate that it is completely feasible to enhance phytoremediation, and it can increase the permeability of plant cell membrane and promote the absorption of heavy metal in plants.
Nonionic surfactants for herbicide are able to reduce the surface tension of water. The infiltration rate of water-repellent soils can be improved. But there is no evidence indicating that the nonionic herbal surfactants are effective towards wettable soils. Depending on the amount of surfactants and the property of soils, by nonionic surfactant treatment, aggregate stability can be changed—unaffected, increased or decreased. When it comes to solution culture, it is detrimental to plant growth if relatively low surfactant concentrations are employed. While for soils, only extremely high application rates will have a harmful influence on the growth of plants. The application of surfactants can improve the water conditions in soils, which is beneficial to plants in water-repellent materials.