Volume 8, Issue 9 (October 2011)
Novel Alkyl Polyglucoside Surfactant Derivatives for Improving the Infiltration of Irrigation Water into Repellent Soil
Soil water repellency causes several agronomic challenges for turfgrass managers, such as reduced color, quality, and playability of golf courses and sports fields. Surfactants are commonly applied as water and soil treatments in order to manage water conservation, irrigation efficiency, and overall plant health. There is an ongoing need within the current sustainability initiatives for advanced materials with superior environmental and performance profiles. This research is the first to demonstrate the efficacy of anionic alkyl polyglucoside esters (AGEs) and AGE-nonionic surfactant blends in increasing the wettability of naturally derived and artificially repellent mineral soils. Surfactant compositions were diluted in distilled water to concentrations ranging from 8000 mg l−1 to 500 mg l−1. A standardized water droplet penetration test was used to measure infiltration times into soils of varying degrees of repellency. AGEs were up to 10 times more effective than alternative surfactants at improving water movement into soil. Performance differences became more significant as the application rates decreased. Our results demonstrate that AGEs can be highly effective at delivering irrigation water and aqueous compositions into the root zone of turfgrass when applied alone and/or in concert with traditional wetting agent classes. Patent applications have been submitted for this discovery.