Pesticides: The alternative oil-based solution

Source: Total

Chemical pesticides have a tarnished image. As more and more consumers turn to organic produce, changes are being introduced in European and national regulations to limit the use of these crop-protection products. With its high-purity paraffin oils, Total Fluides proposes an effective solution that protects the environment and the health of users and consumers.

The numerous virtues of paraffin oils

Special fluids are used in a host of applications, including drilling fluids, water treatment, crop protection solutions, printing ink, cosmetics and even animal vaccines. Already the joint leader in Europe, Total is now a global producer with its new manufacturing unit in Bayport, near Houston, Texas. Deploying high-tech processes, the plant will manufacture exceptionally pure custom fluids, guaranteed to please the American market, looking for products made closer to home.

Mankind has been aware of the insecticide properties of mineral oils since the 19th century, especially on citrus fruit and other fruit trees. The latest developments of these products have extended their use to include many other crops. Total Fluides has the know-how and the tools to make very high-purity products, made exclusively from paraffin oil, that do away with the problem of the aromatic compounds inherent in mineral oils. This level of purity allows these products to be used in fields as sensitive as cosmetology, the inks used on packaging materials for food, the diluents in animal vaccines and crop protection applications.

Philippe Lemaire, Director of Health Safety Environment and Sustainable Development of Special Fluids explains: "The toxic principle is physical, not chemical. There is no metabolic interaction on the parasites. The parasitic larvae or fungi are simply suffocated. This offers the dual advantage of avoiding the issue of residues and, above all, does not lead to the development of resistance in the target species. So-called alternative products rarely achieve a level of performance equivalent to that of chemical pesticides."

The only limit of this mode of action is that the product must be applied to the entire surface of the plant. Very dense crops are less accessible, unless the capacity of spraying systems is developed.

Products in keeping with regulatory changes

Civil society often accuses crop-protection products of having two side-effects: Residues and environmental impact. As a result, organic produce continues to develop* and the legislators have turned the screw further by issuing a European directive that requires member states to implement programs to reduce the use of chemical pesticides. France is even one step ahead of the game, with its "Écophyto" plan, produced by the Grenelle round table on the Environment, which sets targets for the reduction of the use of pesticides in France.

"The paraffin oil on offer from Total Fluides is recognized as a natural biocontrol substance and can be used in organic farming. The fact that the paraffin oils we sell are officially classified as biodegradable, and as having no impact on health and the environment, makes them the ideal solution. Indeed, they are part of the Group's solutions awarded the Total Ecosolutions label", points out Philippe Lemaire.

Prospects of worldwide development

Total Fluides' role is to promote the numerous advantages gained by using its paraffin oils to the main stakeholders in agriculture, from agricultural professionals and the Crop Protection authorities, to the crop experts in the Ministries of Agriculture tasked with supporting professionals, and the general public.

Serge Quillet, the Crop Protection Market Manager at Total Fluides, explains that all the major producers of phytopharmaceuticals are already engaged in the development of alternative products. "We are working with partners specialized in alternative solutions, such as KOPPERT Biological Systems. We supply our know-how in the products and their modes of action, and in return, they offer their expertise to optimally position our products in crop treatment strategies."

Total Fluides' solutions are now well-known in organic farming, as well as in its traditional fields of activity, such as drilling. The company's goal is to supply these products to all of the agricultural professions that can benefit from them. While the most drastic regulations are today found in Europe, Total Fluides sells its crop-protection range on all five continents.

"The scope of action is very broad, both in terms of pests and diseases, and of the number of crops. This means that the Total Fluides products will really count in the sustainable agriculture of the future," concludes Serge Quillet.

Using oil-based resources along the entire chain of its capacities. For Total Special Fluids division, this too makes for Better Energy.

* 89 percent of French people consume organic produce, at least occasionally, compared with just 54 percent in 2003. 65 percent of the French consume organic produce regularly, at least once a month, compared with 37 percent in 2003. (Source: the 2015 edition of the Agence Bio/CSA barometer: "The perception and consumption of organic produce")

About Total Ecosolutions

The Total Ecosolutions program is aimed at developing innovative products and services to help our customers, both business and consumer, reduce their environmental footprint by consuming less and better. The Total Ecosolutions label is awarded to Total products and services whose environmental or health performance on whole life cycle outperforms the market standard (reducing consumption of energy, water and other resources or environmental impact). The labeling process is based on international ISO 14020 and 14021 standards governing environmental claims, particularly the accuracy of these claims, and the compliance of the labeling process with these standards is verified by an external independent auditor.

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