SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1996

Plant Response to Octylphenol and Secondary Alcohol Ethoxylates


Experiments were conducted to determine plant response to octylphenol ethoxylate (OPEO) and secondary alcohol ethoxylate (SAEO) surfactants. Plant species evaluated were barley and green foxtail (grass species) and kochia, redroot pigweed, and potato (broadleaf species). Droplet spread on adaxial leaf surface varied with surfactant hydrophilic:lipophilic balance (HLB) and plant species. Droplet spread was most pronounced with low HLB surfactants (8 to 13), with little or no droplet spread occurring with surfactants of intermediate to high HLB (13.5 to 18). Droplet spread was greatest on kochia, intermediate on barley and green foxtail, and least on redroot pigweed. Plant species differed in their susceptibility to surfactants. Foliar injury by SAEO was greatest to green foxtail (36%) at HLB 14.5, while foliar injury by OPEO was greatest to redroot pigweed (25%) at HLB 14.6. Foliar injury was greater with surfactants of intermediate HLB (13.5 to 15.8) than of low (8 to 12.4) or high (17.3 to 18) HLB. Germinating seedling biomass was reduced more by surfactants with HLB values of 8 to 14.5 than those with HLB values of 15.4 to 18. Electrolyte leakage from potato cells was greatest with SAEO surfactant with HLB value of 12.1 and with OPEO surfactant with HLB value of 13.5.

Author Information

Manthey, FA
North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND
Szelezniak, EF
North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND
Nalewaja, JD
North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND
Davidson, JD
North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND
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Developed by Committee: E35
Pages: 201–210
DOI: 10.1520/STP11352S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5346-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2035-8