If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



Crop Protection: India’s Jubilant To Commercialize New Route To Key Insecticide Intermediate

by Michael McCoy
March 14, 2011 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 89, Issue 11

Jubilant Life Sciences says it will build the world’s largest plant to manufacture a key intermediate for chlorpyrifos, the world’s largest-volume insecticide. The Indian company says the facility will use an environmentally friendly route to the intermediate it developed in its own R&D labs.

First marketed in 1965 by Dow Chemical, chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide widely used to protect crops such as cotton, corn, and almonds. Although chlorpyrifos has come under fire in the U.S., demand is growing in Asia and especially in China, where it is replacing more toxic organophosphates, according to Rob Bryant, head of the U.K. crop protection technology firm Agranova.

Chlorpyrifos lost patent protection years ago, but Dow is still the world’s top maker of the intermediate, 2,3,5,6-tetrachloropyridine, also known as Symtet. Bryant says Dow has maintained leadership through an innovative process that consumes low-cost by-products from other industries such as nylon manufacturing.

To date, the only other commercial route to chlorpyrifos is a process based on trichloroacetyl chloride that was developed by the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT). It is used with limited success in China, Bryant says.

Jubilant says its Symtet plant will benefit from back-integration into pyridine production as well as the new process. The 24,000-metric-ton-per-year facility will be able to supply more than 40% of world demand for the intermediate when it opens in Bharuch, Gujarat state, India, in late 2012, the company says.

Jubilant will be competitive against the IICT route, Bryant predicts, but he thinks Dow will continue to dominate the Symtet business. “I am skeptical that Jubilant can compete with Dow on a direct-cost basis,” he says.


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.