Nicosulfuron: An Efficient Herbicide for Maize Crops

Jul 28, 2023

Nicosulfuron is a powerful herbicide known for its effectiveness in controlling weeds in corn crops. This blog explores how Nicosulfuron works and how it specifically targets problematic weeds while being safe for corn plants.

The History of Nicosulfuron

Nicosulfuron, originally discovered by ISK, is a sulfonylurea herbicide that was introduced to the market in the early 1990s under the brand name Accent®. It serves as a post-emergence herbicide specifically designed to control grass weeds in corn, sorghum, and other cereal crops.

Through rigorous screening of compounds derived from the natural amino acid valine, researchers have made a groundbreaking discovery regarding the herbicidal properties of nicosulfuron. This compound has displayed remarkable efficacy against a wide range of grass weeds, such as wild oats, foxtail, and volunteer grains. The findings of this study hold significant implications for weed control strategies in various agricultural settings.

In the years following its introduction, nicosulfuron became a popular herbicide among farmers due to its selective activity against grass weeds, low toxicity to non-target organisms, and ease of use. Today, nicosulfuron is sold under several brand names, including Accent®, Monosul®, and Nicol®. It is widely used in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere to control grassy weeds in corn, sorghum, and other cereal crops.

Properties of Nicosulfuron 

Nicosulfuron, scientifically referred to as 2-[[[[(4,6-dimethoxy-2-pyrimidinyl)amino]carbonyl]amino]sulfonyl]-N,N-dimethyl-3-pyridinecarboxamide, is a highly effective herbicide specifically designed for targeted control of broad-leaved weeds and gramineous weeds in corn fields. With a chemical formula of C15H18N6O6S and a molecular weight of 410.4 g/mol, Nicosulfuron offers post-emergent control that ensures the preservation and vitality of corn crops.

Properties of Nicosulfuron

Here is the chemical structure depicting the various constituents of Nicosulfuron:

Appearance: Nicosulfuron is a fine white crystalline powder that is essentially odorless.

Solubility: It is soluble in water, methanol, acetone, and acetonitrile, but poorly soluble in dichloromethane, ether, and n-hexane.

Melting Point: Nicosulfuron has a melting point range of 141-143 °C.

Stability: Nicosulfuron is stable in acidic and neutral media but degrades in alkaline conditions.

Toxicity: Nicosulfuron is moderately toxic to humans and animals and is classified as a Category D (non-carcinogenic) pesticide. It is safe for agricultural use when applied as per the recommended guidelines.

Working Mechanism of Nicosulfuron

Nicosulfuron is a selective systemic herbicide, which means it is taken up by the plant and transported throughout the tissues. Nicosulfuron works by inhibiting the synthesis of acetolactate synthase (ALS), an enzyme required for the production of branched-chain amino acids. These amino acids are essential building blocks for protein synthesis and growth, so without ALS, plants cannot grow.

When nicosulfuron is absorbed by the target weed, it travels down to the roots and inhibits the activity of ALS. Without new protein synthesis, the plant cannot grow and eventually dies.

Nicosulfuron is primarily used to control monocotyledonous weeds in corn and other cereal crops, including wild oats, foxtail grass and volunteer cereals. Since it is a selective herbicide, it does not harm the crop itself and has little effect on broad-leaved weeds.

The Advantages of Applying Nicosulfuron

Selectivity: Nicosulfuron is a selective herbicide, which means that it only affects the target weed and has little to no effect on other plants or the environment.

Systemic action: Nicosulfuron is a systemic herbicide, which means that it is absorbed by the leaves and roots of the target weed and then translocated throughout its tissues. This makes it highly effective at controlling weeds, even those with deep roots.

Low toxicity: Nicosulfuron has low toxicity to non-target organisms, including humans, pets, and wildlife. It has also been shown to have low environmental persistence, meaning that it breaks down quickly in soil and water.

Ease of use: Nicosulfuron is easy to apply and can be used as a post-emergent herbicide, meaning that it can be applied after the target weeds have emerged.

Strong efficacy: Nicosulfuron has a high level of efficacy against many grass weeds, including wild oats and foxtails, making it a preferred choice among farmers for controlling these difficult-to-manage weeds.

The Dosages and Application of Nicosulfuron

Corn Fields: Nicosulfuron is primarily used to control grassy weeds (such as foxtail, crabgrass, and barnyardgrass) and broadleaf weeds (such as cocklebur, pigweed, and waterhemp) in cornfields. It is typically applied after the corn has emerged and during the early stages of weed growth.

Other Crops: Nicosulfuron may also be used in some other crops, such as sorghum, sugarcane, and turfgrass, to control selective weeds.

Dosage: The recommended dosage of Nicosulfuron varies depending on the crop, weed species, and the stage of weed growth. It is typically applied as a spray application at rates ranging from 35 to 52.5 g/ha.



Overall, nicosulfuron is a reliable and effective herbicide widely used by farmers worldwide to control gramineous weeds in corn and other cereal crops. Plus, it effectively removes a wide variety of weeds while minimizing damage to corn plants. Its residual activity helps reduce weed regrowth and competition. The selectivity, systemic action, low toxicity and ease of use of nicosulfuron make it a valuable tool in modern agriculture. Heben is the top producer of Nicosulfuron. If you would like to discuss more about this chemical, please feel free to contact us.