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CISTERN Soil Surfactant and Humectant Complex contains a blend of multi-functional soil surfactants that have been carefully "tuned" so their components work together to address hydrophobic conditions in the subsurface layers of the soil profile -– conditions that may reduce infiltration capacity, create uneven hydration, reduce capillarity and disrupt the uniform distribution of water in plant rootzones. The CISTERN formulation also incorporates a mixture of hydrophilic humectants and hygroscopic compounds that in combination with CISTERN's surfactant blend, will enhance plant tolerance to water deficit and heat stress by improving moisture retention in the rootzone and reducing the loss of water due to evaporation and drainage through the soil profile.


Many humectant products utilize a single surfactant technology or contain simple mixtures of different surfactants (polyblends)to move the humectant chemistry into the rootzone.

The CISTERN Soil Surfactant and Humectant Complex formulation makes use of advances in surfactant and formulation technologies that offer a more comprehensive set of performance characteristics. CISTERN contains a blend of new, highly effective chemistries that can be "tuned" to take advantage of their unique patterns of self-assembly and compatibility with other formulation components.

The first constituent of CISTERN is Disotrate AGE, a new class of alkylpolyglucoside ester surfactants derived from natural, renewable raw materials. Golf course superintendents and crop production professionals will find that the Disotrate AGE surfactant chemistry makes a significant contribution to the infiltration performance and sub-surface hydration of the soil profile because of the large size and repulsion to water by its non-polar "tail" and the large size and attraction to water by its polar "head."

The second constituent in the CISTERN surfactant blend is a tri-block copolymer. It was chosen for its exceptional ability to establish or restore adhesion sites (negative sites) on water repellent surfaces. In addition, this tri-block copolymer is proven to promote uniform vertical and lateral movement of water and solutes into and through the soil profile.

Disotrate AGE and its tri-block co-surfactant both contribute to preventing disruption of the wetting front by creating sites for water attachment (reducing surface tension). The larger, more complex tri-block surfactant also promotes downward and lateral movement of water (matrix flow).

As free water molecules are removed from these surfactants (due to gravity and evaporation), they serve as a feedstock for humates in the CISTERN formulation.


Humectant and Hygroscopic Components

A humectant complex has been added to the CISTERN formulation primarily to harvest and retain ambient water in the soil profile. These humectants are a mixture of several short-chained sugar alcohols (polyols) and longer chained polysaccharides that both contain several hydrophyllic (water loving hydroxyl groups) sites. Because the equatorial positions of the hydroxyl groups (–OH) protude laterally along the polyol molecule, they are readily available to attract and bond with water -- making them excellent humectants.

Since the water molecules are not held "tightly" to the humectant compounds, roots can take up this new source of available water through osmosis. This is a net gain for the plant since without the humectant "bridge," this microscopic water would normally be unavailable and eventually be lost through evaporation.