Periodic application of agrochemicals has led to high cost of production and serious environmental pollution. In this study, the ability of montmorillonite (MMT) clay to act as a controlled release carrier for model agrochemical molecules has been investigated. Urea was loaded into MMT by a simple immersion technique while loading of metalaxyl was achieved by a rotary evaporation method. The successful incorporation of the agrochemicals into the interlayer space of MMT was confirmed by several techniques, such as, significant expansion of the interlayer space, reduction of Barrett-Joyner- Halenda (BJH) pore volumes and Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface areas, and appearance of urea and metalaxyl characteristic bands on the Fourier-transform infrared spectra of the urea loaded montmorillonite (UMMT) and metalaxyl loaded montmorillonite (RMMT) complexes. Controlled release of the trapped molecules from the matrix was done in water and in the soil. The results reveal slow and sustained release behaviour for UMMT for a period of 10 days in soil. For a period of 30 days, MMT delayed the release of metalaxyl in soil by more than 6 times. It is evident that MMT could be used to improve the efficiency of urea and metalaxyl delivery in the soil. © 2014 Harrison Wanyika.
Wanyika, H. (2014). Controlled release of agrochemicals intercalated into montmorillonite interlayer space. The Scientific World Journal, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/656287