Sulfonylurea chemistry, by DuPont, is now 20 years old. Treating 150 million U.S. acres would have once required application of 220 million pounds of traditional herbicides, but now requires only 2.2 million pounds of sulfonylureas – a 99% reduction.
Sulfonylureas control harmful weeds by inhibiting an enzyme that enabled these weeds to grow. Because this enzyme, acetolactate synthase, is not present in humans or animals, the technology’s site of action offers a low level of toxicity and post-emergence effectiveness.
To date, more than 31 active sulfonylurea ingredients have been commercialized or are in the advanced stages of development.