There are two important applications for DMSO in the agrichemical sciences. DMSO is used as a reaction solvent to synthesize agricultural chemicals and as a solvent for the synthesis of agrochemical actives.
The powerful solvent properties of DMSO allow for high actives loading, resulting in highly concentrated formulations. In agrichemical formulations, DMSO has the ability to dissolve highly insoluble active ingredients. It provides an alternative to more hazardous dipolar aprotic solvents which are being regulated out of agrichemical applications – particularly N-Methyl Pyrollidone (NMP). DMSO is completed miscible in water and is naturally biodegradable.
DMSO is a useful liquid formulation solvent for Imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide. Imidiacloprid is thought to be the most widely used insecticide in the world (Yamamoto, Izuru (1999). “Nicotine to Nicotinoids: 1962 to 1997″. In Yamamoto, Izuru; Casida, John.Nicotinoid Insecticides and the Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor. Tokyo: Springer-Verlag. pp. 3–27.). Imidiacloprid sees wide application in the control of insects on companion animals, the protection of ornamental trees from boring insects and soil treatment prior to the planting of crops.
Examples of agrichemical ingredients which have good DMSO solubility are the imidazolinone herbicides imazethapyr and Imazamethabenz-methyl.