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Topic: Urushiol  (Read 4184 times)

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« on: July 06, 2015, 01:53:16 AM »
I used the search function, but did not get the answer I was looking for. 

My question: Is there an solvent  that can break urushiol (the oil in poison ivy that make people itch) that be direct injected  into a large poison ivy plant to render it inert or at least reduce the strength of the oil?  I've read that a high concentration of either ethyl alcohol or isopropyl 90% can at least partially dissolve the structure, but once the alcohol evaporates, it goes back to normal. I've also read that the rubbing alcohol can denature the oil. If I understand correctly there is a benzene ring, but those are hard to break from my understanding.  To clarify, I'm not interested once it gets onto the skin and into the derma, I want to expand my knowledge of it while it's still in the plant.

This is from wikipedia:

R = (CH2)14CH3 or
R = (CH2)7CH=CH(CH2)5CH3 or
R = (CH2)7CH=CHCH2CH=CH(CH2)2CH3 or
R = (CH2)7CH=CHCH2CH=CHCH2CH=CH2 and others

Offline Arkcon

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Re: Urushiol
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2015, 08:48:44 AM »
Its hard to understand what you're asking, or at least why you're asking it.  But we'll try to figure it out.

You want to de-toxify poison ivy in situ, that's easy to understand, and you've looked up the structure, and the organic chemistry involved.  That's nice work.  But then what's the plan?  Won't any reagent you can think of damage the plant?  Or other components the plant needs?  Plants don't have a circulatory system, water travels from roots to leaves in a one-way trip (mostly,) so your chemical won't always work.

Step one, id the plants, and then, instead of putting on gloves and yanking it out, or spraying it with herbicide from a distance, you carefully approach and inject ... something, that does ... something.  Now what, we have a lovely shiny vine growing that doesn't cause contact dermatitis?  We have other species that already are like that.  Do you want to genetically engineer poison ivy that doesn't make urushiol?  Again, what for?
Hey, I'm not judging.  I just like to shoot straight.  I'm a man of science.


  • Guest
Re: Urushiol
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2015, 12:11:52 AM »
I would like to directly inject a solution that  1) destroys the root system 2) poisons the flora above ground, and 3) neutralize the urushiol to make it easier to handle. This injection would occur through  a hollow spike that traverses the vascular system and disperses the solution from inside the plant's vascular system.    The general idea is to poison the plant through  both it's water transportation system and through the way it moves it's glucose. The plant moves water from the roots to the leaves via the xylem.  The ivy also takes the glucose from the flora and sends it back down the to the root system.  If the roots aren't destroyed, then it will regenerate.

Or am I making  this harder than it is out to be and just use some 2 4 D and call it a day?  Anecdotally, it seems that it kills poison ivy for 2 years, but then it still comes back.  I want to only do the job once and be done with it forever.

Offline billnotgatez

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Re: Urushiol
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2015, 03:59:18 AM »
just use some 2 4 D
since the above and other herbicides supposedly works on the roots by spraying the leaves
would it not be easier (and safer than injecting each plant)

Unless you are trying to figure out how to be specific to urushiol producing plants since most sprays are not specific to just poison ivy.

But if you are injecting in every poison ivy plants stem - would that restrict the herbicide to the individual plant.


  • Guest
Re: Urushiol
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2015, 02:09:28 AM »
I ended up using 2,4-d, tordon, and OrthoMax Poison Ivy & Tough Brush Killer.  I was surprised to see roundup (glyphosate 41.0%)on the list as I was told by many that it was ineffective.  I was just overthinking the situation.  The urushiol still remains active for quite a while despite plant death, but I'm sure I can figure something up eventually.

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