Copper Sulfate is a multi-purpose chemical used as a fungicide for agriculture, an algaecide and herbicide for irrigation and water treatment systems, and a molluscicide used to deter or kill snails and slugs, according to Copper.org. Copper sulfate is used by over 100 manufacturers for a range of industrial purposes, but nearly 75 percent of all production is used for agriculture.
Generally, copper sulfate virgin copper is not used in manufacturing. Manufacturers use various methods to create industrial copper sulfate. One method uses nonferrous scrap that is refined, and the molten metal is placed in to water to produce spherical pieces called shot. The shot is diluted in sulfuric acid in the presence of air to create liquor. The manufacturer uses the cooling process to produce either copper sulfate crystals or granulated snow crystals. The Environmental Protection Agency requires that all end products containing 99 percent active ingredients of copper sulfate in crystalline form must have the word "Danger" on the label.
Copper sulfate is used to control bacterial and fungal diseases on field crops, fruit trees, nut trees and vegetables, according to Cornell University. Copper sulfate controls mildew, leaf spots, blight and apple scabs. Horticulturists utilize a combination of copper sulfate, lime and water called a Bordeaux mixture for treating leaves and seeds. Copper sulfate is used to correct deficiencies in soil and animals. A mixture of copper sulfate and other materials are used to fatten pigs and chickens, according to Copper.org.
Irrigation and Water Treatment
Copper Sulfate is used as an algaecide and an herbicide for irrigation and municipal water treatment systems. According to William Wurst, State of Kentucky Aquaculture Specialist, copper sulfate may be used for spot control of algae, but not for ponds with algae density of more than 30 percent. Copper sulfate should not be used in fishing ponds stocked with salmon, koi, carp, gold fish, trout and other species noted for a sensitivity to copper.
Copper sulfate is used as a molluscicide to kill snails and slugs. According to the University of California, Davis website, a Bordeaux mixture can be brushed on tree trunks that will repel snails and slugs.
Copper sulfate is used as an additive to adhesives for book binding and an additive to animal and silicate glues to provide water resistance. The building industry use copper sulfate as a prevention for wood rot and woodworms. Copper sulfate is used to control the growth of tree roots near sewers.
Copper sulfate is used as an electrolyte in copper refining and in the production of copper wiring, aluminum plating and copper powder.
The medical community use copper sulfate to control and prevent disease such as Bilharzias, malaria and the spread of athlete's foot by incorporating the material into a mixture of other compounds, according to Copper.org. Copper sulfate is used as a germicide and antiseptic