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Toward revealing the role of the cation in the phytotoxicity of the betaine-based esterquats comprising dicamba herbicide


[ 1 ] Instytut Technologii i Inżynierii Chemicznej, Wydział Technologii Chemicznej, Politechnika Poznańska | [ 2 ] Wydział Informatyki i Telekomunikacji, Politechnika Poznańska | [ SzD ] doctoral school student | [ S ] student | [ P ] employee | [ D ] phd student

Scientific discipline (Law 2.0)

[7.6] Chemical sciences

Year of publication


Published in

Science of the Total Environment

Journal year: 2022 | Journal volume: vol. 845

Article type

scientific article

Publication language


  • Glycine betaine
  • Quaternary ammonium salts
  • Plant development
  • Dicotyledonous plants
  • Surface active agents

EN In this study, two homologous series of esterquats comprising alkyl (from ethyl to octadecyl) betainate cations and bromide as well as dicamba anions were successfully synthesized, starting from a renewable raw material – glycine betaine. Due to the favorable octanol-water partition coefficient and utilization of biodegradable cations of natural origin, synthesized esterquats can be considered promising alternatives to currently applied dicamba-based formulations. In addition, the obtained results allowed us to verify whether the organic cations in quaternary ammonium salts containing herbicidally active anions (such as dicamba) play the role of biologically inactive adjuvants that only enhance the efficiency of the active ingredient or if they simultaneously exhibit a significant degree of phytotoxicity. Analysis of the influence of alkyl betainate esterquats containing nonherbicidal (bromide) anions on seedlings of white mustard revealed that alkyl betainate cations promote the germination of white mustard seeds; however, the subsequent growth of the seedlings was significantly inhibited. Further studies performed on white mustard and cornflower plants in a stage of 4–6 leaves allowed us to conclude that in the case of sensitive plants, the high phytotoxicity can be attributed to the presence of the dicamba anion, whereas for more resistant plants the additional influence of the cation on the phytotoxic effect is visible. Esterquats comprising a dodecyl substituent or longer had high surface active properties. Nonetheless, their contact angle values were not correlated with phytotoxicity data, indicating an additional influence of the cation on this stage of plant development. Interestingly, subsequent dose–response experiments conducted for two selected dicamba–based products confirmed that the greatest phytotoxicity was expressed by compounds containing a decyl substituent.

Date of online publication


Pages (from - to)

157181-1 - 157181-10





Article number: 157181

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CC BY (attribution alone)

Open Access Mode

czasopismo hybrydowe

Open Access Text Version

final published version

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at the time of publication

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