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Paraquat is one of the most widely used herbicides, and held one of the largest share of the global herbicide market.
Paraquat is used to control broad-leaved weeds and grasses, being less effective on deep rooted plants such as dandelions. It does not harm mature bark, and is thus widely used for weed control in fruit orchards and plantation crops, including coffee, cocoa, coconut, oil palms, rubber, bananas, vines, olives and tea, ornamental trees and shrubs and in forestry.
Other uses include weed control in alfalfa, onion, leeks, sugar beet, asparagus. It is used for weed control on non-crop land and can be used as a defoliant for cotton and hops before harvesting. Paraquat is used as a desiccant for pineapples, sugar cane, soya beans and sunflower(5) . In pineapples, for example, paraquat is applied after harvest to accelerate the drying out process and enabling plants to be burnt after 3-5 weeks, compared to 13 weeks after the alternative cutting and natural drying.
Paraquat is increasingly used to destroy weeds in preparing land for planting in combination with no-till agricultural practices which minimise ploughing and help prevent soil erosion. Although toxic to fish, it is used as an aquatic herbicide where it is absorbed by plant matter and silt.