Definition of terms

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Name Description Related terms

A chemical added to an agricultural chemical to reduce the level of phytotoxicity to the crop or desired plant through some physiological method.


The practical certainty that injury will not result from a substance when used in the quantity and in the manner proposed for its use. A reasonable certainty that the risk of harm to humans from the intended use of a substance is insignificant.

safety criteria

An active constituent or product meets the safety criteria if use of the constituent or the product, in accordance with any instructions approved, or to be approved, by the APVMA for the constituent or the product:

  • is not, or would not be, an undue hazard to the safety of people exposed to it during its handling or people using anything containing its residues, and
  • is not, or would not be, likely to have an effect that is harmful to human beings, and
  • is not, or would be, likely to have an unintended effect that is harmful to animals, plants or things or to the environment.

The safety criteria are considered when the APVMA makes decisions about:

  • an application to approve an active constituent—s. 14(1)(b)
  • approving an active constituent for which information is not readily available—s. 14A(b)
  • an application to register a chemical product—s. 14(1)(c)
  • varying relevant particulars and conditions for an approval or registration—s. 26C(1)(b), s. 26C(1)(c), s. 29(1)(b), s. 29(1)(c), s. 29A(2)(a), s. 29A(2)(b)
  • affirming an active constituent approval (s. 34(1)(a)), product registration (s. 34(1)(b)) and label approval at the conclusion of a reconsideration
  • preparing a standard for a listed registration—s. 8V(a)
  • considering the use of protected information when the information does not favour the applicant or holder—s. 34J(4)(b)
  • suspending or cancelling an approval or registration—s. 41(1)(a), s. 41(1)(b)
  • recalling a chemical product—s. 102(1)(a)
  • issuing a permit—s. 112(2)(c), s. 112(2)(d), s. 112A(2)(a)
  • suspending or cancelling a permit—s. 118(1)(a), s. 118(1)(b), s. 119(1)(a), s. 119(1)(b)
  • re-approval and re-registration—s. 29F of the Code
  • making schedule of reserved chemical products—s. 56ZU(4)(c)

For a full definition of the safety criteria, see section 5A of the Agvet Code.

safety data sheet (SDS)

A data sheet produced by a manufacturer or importer that provides the information needed to allow the safe handling of hazardous substances. The sheets generally describe the properties and uses of the substance (ie its identity, physical properties, health hazard information, precautions for use and safe handling information).

Previously known as the material safety data sheet (MSDS).

safety directions

Phrases or statements included on labels of agricultural and veterinary chemical products that specify hazards, precautions, and techniques for handling, mixing, storing and using those products safely. Safety directions include general warnings and specific precautions and information about protective equipment (including personal protective equipment) relating to the safety of the operator or applicator. They do not include other warnings and precautions such as flammability, disposal of containers, spillage re-entry period and withholding period.

Safety directions are published in the FAISD handbook: handbook of first aid instructions, safety directions, warning statements and general safety precautions for agricultural and veterinary chemicals.

safety factor

A composite (reductive) factor applied by the risk assessment experts to the no-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) or another reference point, to derive a reference dose that is considered safe or without appreciable risk, such as an acceptable daily intake or tolerable daily intake (the NOAEL or other reference point is divided by the safety factor to calculate the reference dose). The value of the safety factor depends on the nature of the toxic effect, the size and type of population to be protected, and the quality of the toxicological information available.

safety index

The ratio of the maximum tolerated dose in milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) of a drug to the recommended dose—a measure of the risk that would result from inadvertent or deliberate overdosing.

safety phrases

Phrases that provide information on workplace substances relating to safe storage, handling and personal protection.

safety testing

The identification of effects at dose levels comparable to those to which humans might be exposed.


A type of chemical compound made by reacting an acid with a base.


In the Agvet Code, sample includes specimen (from s. 3 of the Agvet Code),

In other contexts, can also mean: A subset of a population.

The elements that are selected intentionally as a representation of the population being studied.

sampling error

The maximum expected difference between a probability sample value and the true value.


Removing or destroying all infested and infected material; elimination of all putrifiable material.


A chemical agent that is suitable for use to reduce pathogenic or food spoilage microorganisms to a sanitary level on surfaces with which food for human consumption may come in contact.

Note: pool sanitisers are a separate and distinct agricultural chemical product group that control microorganisms in swimming pools and spa pools.


An organism that lives on dead or decaying organic matter.

A plant (organism) that uses dead organic matter as food, and commonly causes its decay.


Living off dead or decaying matter.


The degree of intensity of a colour; its relative freedom from admixture of white.


A roughened, crust-like diseased area (lesion) on the surface of a plant or animal. In plants, a scab may also be the name of a disease that is characterised by these types of lesions.


An aggregate measure that assigns a value to a case based on a pattern obtained from a group of related measures.

Scheduled ingredients
scheduled poison

A chemical listed in the schedules in the Poisons Standard. The schedule numbering indicates the hazard or toxicity level associated with using the product.

scientific argument
scientific name or scientific binomial

The name (genus and species) of a plant, animal or microorganism used throughout the international scientific community.

scientific sample

A group of cases selected from a population by a random process. Every member of the population has a known, non-zero probability of being selected.


A piece of twig or shoot inserted on another (the rootstock) in grafting.


Burning' of plant tissue from infection, or the lack or excess of some nutrient or weather conditions. It often appears on dead areas, along the margins and tips of leaves.


One or more debossed lines running across a planar surface of a tablet, which allow the tablet to be broken into fractions when less than a full tablet is required for a dose.

secondary effect

An effect, usually undesirable, that is consequential upon the primary intended effect of a pesticide (eg the death of a fish as a result of low oxygen level in the water due to the decomposition of aquatic weeds killed by the application of an approved aquatic herbicide).

secondary holder

From s. 3 of the Agvet Code:

In relation to a secondary active constituent for a proposed or existing chemical product, means:

  1. if the APVMA is considering an application for the approval of that constituent—the person who made the application, or
  2. if the APVMA has reconsidered or is reconsidering the approval of that constituent:
    1. the person entered in the Record [of Approved Active Constituents for Chemical Products] as the holder of the approval, or
    2. if the holder was an individual who has died or is an individual whose affairs are being lawfully administered by another person—the legal personal representative of the individual or the person administering the individual’s affairs, or
    3. if the holder was a body corporate—a successor in law of the body corporate.

In relation to a secondary chemical product, means:

  1. if the APVMA is considering an application for the registration of that product—the person who made the application, or
  2. if the APVMA has reconsidered or is reconsidering the registration of that product:
    1. the person entered in the Register [of Agricultural and Veterinary Chemical Products] as the holder of the registration, or
    2. if the holder was an individual who has died or is an individual whose affairs are being lawfully administered by another person—the legal personal representative of the individual or the person administering the individual’s affairs, or
    3. if the holder was a body corporate—a successor in law of the body corporate.


secondary packaging

The process of placing filled, sealed and labelled primary containers into an outer, 'secondary' container.

secondary poisoning

The poisoning of a predator or scavenger that eats a poisoned organism.


Fall or settlement of particles in a continuous (usually liquid) medium.


The unit of reproduction of flowering plants, capable of developing into another such plant.

seed disinfectant

A chemical that destroys certain disease-causing organisms carried in or on a seed. Seed disinfectants are not necessarily seed dressings or seed protectants.

seed dressing

The process of covering seeds with a fine coasting of fungicide, insecticide, lime and inoculum to prevent fungal infection or insect attack. Also known as a seed protectant.

seed protectant

A term mainly applied to herbicides and insecticides that indicates it is capable of killing some kinds of plants or insects and not injuring others.

selective herbicide

A chemical that is more toxic to some plants species than to others—this may be a function of dosage or mode of application as well as chemical composition.


In efficacy evaluation trials, the ability of a herbicide not to be phytotoxic to the crop at the doses that are effective against the target weeds.

in analytical methods

The ability to assess the analyte in the presence of components (endogenous materials, degradation products or other agvet chemicals) that might be expected to be present.


A barrier that will let some materials pass through but not others—usually used in relation to a membrane.

senescence or senescent

Growing old.


Easily injured or affected by; susceptible to pesticidal effects at low dosage; reacting with severe symptoms to the attack of a given pathogen.

sensitive areas

Locations where pesticide applications could cause great harm (eg streams, ponds, houses, barns, parks).


The tendency of an organism attacked by a disease to show more or less strong symptoms.

sequential treatment

A treatment followed by another on the same site.

Serious Adverse Experience
serological response

Concentration of circulating antibodies, and other immunological properties, in the blood serum in response vaccination.

serovar or serotype

A subdivision of a microorganism species or subspecies that is distinguishable from other strains on the basis of antigenic characters or antigenic determinants.


The portion of blood that does not include red or white blood cells or clotting factors.


A single tuber or bulb; a piece of plant used for vegetative propagation.


The strain produced in a substance as its layers are shifted laterally over each other. In a gas or liquid interface this will produce corrugations on the liquid surface that develop until stripped off as droplets.

To remove wool from a sheep, goat or other fibre-producing animal by mechanical means.

shelf life

The period of time during which the product remains suitable for use, efficacious and within the approved shelf-life specifications, provided that it is stored under the conditions specified on the label in the proposed container and closure. Until the expiry date (at the end of the shelf life), the product would be expected to maintain its labelled potency, purity and physical characteristics.

shelf life check or expiry specifications

The combination of physical, chemical, biological and microbiological test requirements that a product (generally a veterinary chemical product) must meet throughout its shelf life.

shelf-life specifications

Specifications with proposed limits, within which the properties of a formulation will remain after a minimum of 2 years storage if no other statement as to the storage period is made.


Outer packaging containing one or registered products used to promote, display or protect the products or the special deal for the purchaser in the form of a price discount, a free bonus pack or a gift.


The severe reaction of the human body to a serious injury; can result in death if not treated (even if the injury is not a fatal one).

short wool

Wool of more than 24 hours and up to six weeks after shearing.

short-term pesticide

A pesticide that decomposes to non-toxic by-products almost immediately after application.

side effect

An unintended or undesirable effect of a pesticide, such as phytotoxicity, toxicity to bees and other desirable species.


A pesticide application along the side of a crop row.

sieving (screening)

The separation of particles in accordance with particle size by means of sieves or screens.


An outward signal of a disease or poisoning in a plant or animal, including people.

signal heading

The words required by the current Poisons Standard to appear at the top of the main panel of a label. The relative toxicity and hazardous nature of the chemical are indicated by the signal words: 'Dangerous poison' (for highly toxic), 'Poison' (for moderately toxic) and 'Caution' (for low order toxicity).

signal words

Words that are required by the current Poisons Standard to appear on agvet product labels to indicate the poison scheduling of various components of the product. The signal words (reflecting the assigned schedule) are determined by a committee of the Department of Health and are outlined in the Standard for the uniform scheduling of medicines and poisons .

significance level

The probability of rejecting a set of assumptions when they are in fact true.


A pesticide used to control unwanted brush and trees.

similar products
simple aqueous solution

A solution that contains the active constituent(s), water and buffers, preservatives, colouring or flavouring agents and no other types of constituents.


An area, location, building, structure, plant, animal or other organism to be treated with a pesticide to protect it from or to reach and control the target pest.

size distribution

The distribution of the particles of a solid material among a given series of size ranges.

size fraction

The portion of a solid material between two given size limits. It may be expressed in terms of weight or numerical frequency.

size range

The lower and upper limits in size of particles of a solid material.

skin irritancy

A local inflammatory reaction affecting the skin.

slow-release generator

A generator that consists of a pesticidal active constituent that is impregnated into an absorbent material, such as a plastic polymer, from which the active constituent is slowly released, generally in the form of a vapour.

slow-release granules

Granules that have been impregnated or coated with substances (usually plastic polymers) that ensure that the active constituent is only released to the target as the protective substance slowly degrades. This type of product may be used for the treatment of soil or water.


A semi-liquid mixture of a water-insoluble powder and water.

A thick suspension of a pesticide made from a wettable powder and water.

smoke cartridge

A small form of smoke generator.

smoke generator

A combustible formulation, usually solid, that, upon ignition, releases the active constituent(s) in the form of smoke. The chemicals smoulder but do not catch fire and, as they smoulder, the pesticide is evolved as a smoke and is therefore capable of filling a given space. When the smoke contacts a surface, the gas cools and is deposited on the surface, leaving an effective deposit.

smoke rodlet

A form of smoke generator, similar to an incense stick.

smoke tin

A form of smoke generator contained in a disposable tin that is heated to produce smoke.


The placement of seed and fertiliser in an undisturbed pasture sod.

soil application

The application of a pesticide by putting it in, or on, the soil instead of applying it directly to vegetation.

soil conditioner

The chemicals that aggregate soil particles for improved soil structure.

soil disinfection

The treatment of soil, either by heat (generally in the form of steam) or though chemicals to kill harmful insects, fungi and bacteria.

soil fumigant

A volatile pesticide used to control pests in the soil that is added to the soil and takes the form of a gas or vapour. As the soil fumigant can evaporate quickly, the treatment is usually used in conjunction with some kind of soil cover (eg plastic sheeting) to trap the gas in the soil until the pest is controlled.

soil incorporation

The mixing of a pesticide into the soil by mechanical means. It usually consists of pesticide application to the soil, followed by some sort of tillage.

soil injection

The mechanical placement of the pesticide beneath the soil surface, applied with a minimum of mixing or stirring of the soil, such as with an injection blade, knife or tin. Usually the pesticide is a liquid that changes into a gas, which diffuses through the soil.

soil layered

The placement of a herbicide at a discreet horizontal zone under a lifted or tilled layer of soil.

soil sterilant

A chemical that prevents the growth of all plants and animals in the soil. Different products may act in a temporary or long-term manner.

soil sterilisation

The treatment of soil, either by heat or chemicals, to kill harmful insects, fungi, bacteria and weed seeds.

soil structure

The size and shape of soil particles and their arrangement with air spaces into aggregates within the soil profile.

soil-acting herbicide

A herbicide applied to the soil so that it is taken up by weeds through underground parts or through aerial parts before these emerge from the soil.

solid cone

A jet with a reduced air cone that produces a cone of spray drops.


The property of a substance that will dissolve in a liquid (which must be specified).

soluble concentrate

A clear to opalescent homogeneous liquid to be applied as a true solution of the active constituent after dilution in water. The liquid may contain water-insoluble formulants.

The APVMA type code for soluble concentrate is SL.


A homogeneous liquid containing no suspended solid particles or fine droplets, formed when a chemical dissolves completely, and that will not settle out or separate in normal use. All particles in a solution are of molecular magnitude.

solution for seed treatment

A clear to opalescent liquid to be applied to the seed, either directly or as a solution of the active constituent after dilution in water. The liquid may contain water-insoluble formulants.

The APVMA formulation type code for a solution for seed treatment is LS.


An organic or inorganic liquid (such as water, alcohol or kerosene) that will dissolve one or more substances to form a solution or suspension and is present as a vehicle for another constituent.


The general term for the processes of adsorption and absorption.

The uptake of a chemical by a commodity being fumigated.

sound scientific argument
Space spray

A pesticide designed to be applied in the form of tiny droplets that fill the air of a confined space (eg room, cupboard, warehouse) and destroy insects and other pests (generally when they are flying). Space sprays have limited use outdoors.


A group of living organisms called by the same name because they are very nearly alike and can interbreed successfully.

species specific

An insecticide that has a limited range of toxicity is said to be species specific.

specific gravity

The ratio of the density of a substance to the density of water at the temperature of water's maximum density (ie 4˚C).

specific surface area

The total surface area of all the particles in a given weight of a dust or powder. The surface area increases significantly as a powder is ground more finely.

specifications and test methods

for chemicals

Specifications detail the specific chemical or physical properties that clearly describe and define a product and reflect its quality and usefulness. Specifications describe the requirements to which materials should conform. Specifications for the active constituents and products include a list of tests, references to analytical procedures and appropriate acceptance criteria, which are numerical limits, ranges or other criteria for the tests described. Active constituents and products, when tested according to the analytical procedures, must meet the listed acceptance criteria.

for manufacturing

A detailed description of the requirements with which the products or materials used or obtained during manufacture have to conform and that serves as a basis for quality evaluation. Specifications may include visual, organoleptic, physical, chemical and microbiological qualities.


The ability of an analytical method to distinguish between the analyte being measured and other substances that may be present in the sample being analysed.

specified impurity

Identified or unidentified impurity that is selected for inclusion in an agvet chemical product and is individually listed and limited to assure the safety or quality of the product.


The addition of small, known amounts of a known compound to a standard, sample or placebo, typically for the purpose of confirming the accuracy of an analytical method.

split application

The total amount of pesticide divided between two or more applications made at different times to the same crop.


in relation to the good clinical practice of a trial

The individual, company, institution or organisation that takes responsibility for the initiation, management and financing of a clinical or experimental study of a product under investigation.

in relation to the recall of a non-compliant agvet chemical product

A person, business or company having the primary responsibility for the possession or supply of a non-compliant product or the advertising or promotional material subject to a recall. A sponsor will generally be the registration holder of the product; however, it may also be a consultant or contractor or a manufacturer, importer, wholesaler, distributor, reseller or retailer of the agricultural or veterinary chemical product.


An inactive form of a microorganism that is capable of becoming active again.

sporicidal activity

The capability of a product to produce a reduction in the number of viable bacterial spores of relevant test organisms under defined conditions.


A product that kills dormant bacterial spores under defined conditions.

sporulated oocysts

The formation of spores.

spot spray or spot treatment

A spray applied to small restricted areas such as individual weeds or small patches of weeds and plants. Spot spraying is used where weed infestation is not sufficiently uniform to justify an overall spray.


To apply a liquid in the form of droplets suspended in air.

The name given to the droplets suspended in air.

spray angle

The angle between the sides of a spray jet leaving an orifice.

Spray drift

The movement of airborne spray droplets or particles from the spray nozzle beyond the intended target area by wind and/or air currents to an area not intended to be treated.

spray drift control agent

A formulant or adjuvant that controls the distribution of spray droplet sizes and prevents the production of excessive fines.

spray drift management

A management plan aimed at minimising the occurrence of pesticide spray drift under different prevailing weather conditions. The plan may include the type of nozzles used, the modification devices applied to the ground or aerial boom spray (eg shields, pulse flow modulation), the addition of adjuvants and other drift-control agents, and the establishment of hedges and barrier vegetation or structures.

spray drift-control agent
spray droplet size classification

A classification of sprays based on droplet size that facilitates the description of droplet size on pesticide labels and in regulatory decision-making. Standard ASAE S-572 defines droplet size as classified by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, based on extensive measurements of sprays under ground-application conditions.

spray jet

The whole of the particles coming out of a nozzle. Types of spray jets include: solid stream, conical spray, flat, air-assisted, and non-air-assisted spray.

spray mist

The mist of fine droplets that is always produced when a liquid is forced under pressure through a small aperture or nozzle.

spray plan

A suitable plan prepared for areas that are routinely sprayed. The plan should consist of a map of the awareness zone, and include information on methods of drift reduction and protective buffer zones. The landowner should ensure the commercial spray operator has a copy of an up-to-date spray plan and awareness zone assessments.

spray quality

The ASAE S-572 Spray Nozzle Classification by Droplet Spectra provides definitions for standard nozzles under the categories very fine, fine, medium, coarse, and very coarse. Technical information contained on registered product labels will often refer to the droplet volume mean diameter specified in this standard for the listed nozzle categories.

spray recovery

Spray recovery is usually expressed as a percentage of quantity of spray actually emitted per unit area treated. It is the amount of actual deposit of the spray found impacted on the target crop. This gives a measure of the efficiency of the operation since the remainder will be made up of drift and run-off, which is lost.

spray spectrum

The uniformity and completeness with which a pesticide deposit covers a continuous surface.


A substance (adjuvant) added to a spray to assist in its even distribution over the target. A spreader also increases the area that a given volume of liquid will cover on a solid surface (such as a leaf).

spreading agent

A substance used to improve the wetting, spreading or possibly the adhesive properties of an herbicide spray solution.


A property of a chemical product that describes the tendency to undergo chemical or physical changes under normal conditions of storage. Changes may include settling and breakdown of formulation components into degradation products.

stability indicating assays

The assay method that accurately quantifies the active constituent without interference from impurities, degradation products and excipients.


When used to describe formulations of pesticides, the term implies that there are negligible chemical or physical changes under normal conditions of storage.

When used in relation to emulsions and suspensions of powders, the term implies that the rate of settling is slow.

When used to describe active constituents of pesticides, the term implies that under certain stated conditions, such as in sunlight or when incorporated in the soil, the chemical breaks down relatively slowly.


for an active constituent

The published description of an active constituent, determined by the APVMA, to which an active constituent contained in an agvet product must comply.

in regulation

A criterion for evaluating performance and results. It may be a quantity or quality of output to be produced, a rule of conduct to be observed, a model of operation to be adhered to, or a degree of progress toward a goal.

standard deviation

A measure of the variation from the average.

Standard for the uniform scheduling of medicines and poisons (SUSMP)

The Standard for the uniform scheduling of medicines and poisons and its amendments contain the decisions of the Advisory Committee on Chemicals Scheduling and the Advisory Committee on Medicines Scheduling regarding the classification of medicines and poisons into schedules for inclusion in the relevant legislation of the states and territories. The SUSMP also includes model provisions about containers and labels, a list of products recommended to be exempt from those provisions, and recommendations about other controls on drugs and poisons.

standard name

A name assigned to a starting material that uniquely identifies it within the manufacturing establishment.

standard operating procedure (SOP)
Standards Australia

A peak, non-government organisation for the establishment of standards. Standards Australia is charged by the Australian Government to meet Australia's need for contemporary, internationally aligned standards and related services.

The key priorities and roles of Standards Australia are to:

  • provide information on, and coordination of, national and international standards
  • provide accreditation of standards development organisations
  • develop standards.
Standing Council on Environment and Water (SCEW)

A Council of Australian Governments council established in 2011 to replace the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (EPHC).

starting material

A material used in the synthesis of an agvet chemical product. Starting materials are normally commercially available and of defined chemical and physical properties and structure.

Starting materials include both raw materials and packaging materials.


From s. 3 of the Agvet Code:

Includes the Northern Territory.

statement of claims

A brief statement of what the product is expected to do when used according to label instructions, as claimed by the registration holder and included on the product label approved by the APVMA.


A number computed from data on one or more variables.

statistical analysis

The mathematical analysis of collected data for the purposes of summarising information to make it more usable and/or making generalisations about a population, based on a sample drawn from that population.

statistical control

A statistical technique used to eliminate variance in dependent variables caused by extraneous sources. Statistical controls are often used to control for possible variation due to selection bias by adjusting data for program and control group on relevant characteristics.

statistical error

A measure of the variation of values, normally represented by the standard error and standard deviation or the coefficient of variation (CV%).

statistical procedure

A set of standards and rules based in statistical theory by which one can describe and evaluate what has occurred.

statistical sample

A group of cases selected from a population by a random process in which every member of the population has a known, non-zero probability of being selected.

statistical significance

The degree to which a value is greater or smaller than would be expected by chance. Typically, a relationship is considered statistically significant when the probability of obtaining that result by chance is less than 5 per cent, if there were, in fact, no relationship in the population.

statistical test

A type of statistical procedure that is applied to data to determine whether the results are statistically significant (ie the outcome is not likely to have resulted by chance alone).

statistical tolerance

Permitted limits of variation from a given value.


A law enacted by the legislative branch of a government, and expressed in a formal document.

statutory criteria

The criteria relating to safety, efficacy, trade and labelling that are considered by the APVMA in making a decision about:

  • an application to approve an active constituent
  • an application to register a chemical product
  • an application to approve a label for a container for a chemical product
  • varying relevant particulars and conditions for an approval or registration
  • affirming an active constituent approval, product registration and label approval at the conclusion of a reconsideration
  • preparing a standard for a listed registration
  • considering the use of protected information when the information does not favour the applicant or holder
  • suspending or cancelling an approval or registration
  • recalling a chemical product
  • issuing a permit
  • suspending or cancelling a permit
  • re-approval and re-registration (s 29F of the Code) and making schedule of reserved chemical products (s 56ZU(4)(c)).
stem injection

A method of applying a herbicide that involves drilling or cutting through the bark into the sapwood tissue in the trunks of woody weeds and trees and immediately placing herbicide into the hole or cut. The aim is to reach the sapwood layer just under the bark (the cambium growth layer), which will transport the chemical throughout the plant.

step of manufacture

A single, discrete manufacturing activity (eg quality assurance of raw materials, blending, processing, primary and secondary packaging, labelling, analysis and testing, sterilisation, release for supply).


Stereoisomers have the same constitution (same molecular formula, same atomic bonding) but differ in the spatial orientation of the atoms or groups of atoms within the molecule.

sterile or sterility

Freedom from viable contaminating microorganisms, as described in the European pharmacopoeia or other acceptable contemporary standards. The level of assurance provided by the absence of contamination in the sample, when applied to the quality of the batch, is a function of both the efficiency of the sampling plan adopted and the rigour of the test methods employed.

stinking smut

for ectoparasiticide dips

Stirring of the dip or sump contents to distribute the insecticide concentrate uniformly through the wash by:

  • in sumps less than 400 L, using a hand-operated plunger for three minutes
  • in sumps greater than 400 L, recirculating the dip wash for three minutes by running the pump and by-passing the dip (shower dips only)
  • in plunge dips, mix for at least three minutes with a hand-operated plunger or other effective method.

A random probabilistic phenomenon.

stockfood additive

Any substance or mixture of substances added to the basic stockfood for continuous long-term administration to animals individually, in order to improve the production of the stock it is fed to, or to improve the storage properties or palatability of that food.

stockfood or stockfeed

From r. 3 of the Agvet Code Regulations (unless the contrary intention appears): Means a basic food or food mixture that:

  1. contains one or more nutritional ingredients, and
  2. is intended to be fed to animals for the maintenance of life, normal growth, production, work, reproduction or performance.

Includes pasture, forage and fodder crops, silage, hay, straw, chaff, grain, manufactured stockfood and by-products, and other substances intended for feeding to animals, but does not include a stock medicine, a stockfood additive, a stockfood non-active constituent, or a medicated stockfood.

stockfood supplement

From r. 3 of the Agvet Code Regulations (unless the contrary intention appears):

Means any substance or mixture of substances in the form of tablets, sachets or measures added to stockfood for administration to animals individually in order to supplement or balance that stockfood, but does not include a substance or mixture of substances in an injectable dose form, an intraruminal bolus, a block or a lick.


A stem of a plant that grows horizontally along the ground and roots at the nodes (eg a strawberry runner).

stomach poison

A pesticide that kills an animal (including insects) only when eaten or swallowed. An insecticide that is absorbed through an insect's alimentary tract and therefore acquired by insects feeding on treated surfaces.


The microscopic pores or holes in the skin or epidermis of plants—particularly leaves—through which plants take in carbon dioxide through the air and give out oxygen. Plants also lose water vapour through the stomata and may wilt if excessive water is lost this way.

The singular of 'stomata' is 'stoma'.

stool treatment

For bananas, trash is removed from around the base of the stool and chemical applied at a specified label rate to the lower base, and as a band ground treatment, around the circumference.

stored products

Food products in the raw or processed form that may be stored in silos, sheds or warehouses (generally without the need for refrigeration)—includes raw grain, milled cereal products, nuts, lentils, dried fruits and vegetables, coffee, cocoa, oilseeds, animal feedstuffs, etc.

stored products pests

Insects and mites that infest, live on or damage stored products.


A uniform genetic variant of a particular species of a plant, animal or microorganism that possesses minor differences in certain characteristics, which enable it to be distinguished from other individuals of that species. A strain is a subordinate classification level to species. Strains of experimental animals, plants or microorganisms (with specific characteristics of interest) are frequently used in trials.

A bacterial strain is a subset of a bacterial species differing from other bacteria of the same species by some minor but identifiable difference

strip cropping

The land management practice of growing crops and fallowing land in a systematic arrangement of alternate strips on the contour, which are intended to spread run-off and reduce its velocity in order to reduce erosion.


for ectoparasiticide dips

The loss of pesticide from dip wash at a greater rate than the loss of water due to preferential absorption of the pesticide into the fleece.

structural pests

An animal or organism that can damage houses, barns and other structures (eg termites, carpenter ants, insects and rodents).

structural stability

The ability of a soil to maintain its aggregated structure under the influence of tillage or rainfall, which tend to disintegrate such structure.

structure—activity relationship

The relationship between the biological activity of a chemical or group of related chemicals, and their structure. The relationships can be described qualitatively and quantitatively.


The basal (straw) residue that remains after a crop has been harvested for grain (ie some or all of the upper parts of the plant have been removed).

stubble burning

A management practice in which the stubble from one crop is burnt after harvest and prior to the commencement of fallowing for a subsequent crop.

stubble coverage

The residual stalk and trash remaining after crop harvesting. The amount of stubble coverage can be varied depending on aims of practice. Heavy stubble coverage (40 to 50 per cent ground cover) can reduce weed control and conserve soil moisture.

stubble incorporation

A simple management technique for managing stubble retained during fallowing by incorporating the stubble into the seedbed with an initial cultivation using a disc plough.

stubble mulching

The practice of retaining sufficient stubble on the soil surface during fallow operations to minimise the erosion hazard. This is achieved with subsurface cultivating implements.

stubble retention systems

Involves the retention of stubble either in, or on, the seedbed during fallowing between crops by the practices of incorporating of mulching.

study animal

Any animal that participates in a clinical study, either as the recipient of the investigational product or as a control.

study protocol
study protocol (or trial protocol)

A document fully describing a trial design used to generate data to support applications for approval and registration or a permit. The protocol includes the objectives, design, methodology, statistical considerations and organisation of the study. It may also include the background and rationale for the study.

study protocol deviation

A departure from the procedures stated in the study protocol. Study protocol deviations should be recorded as a statement that is signed and dated by the investigator describing the deviation and the reason for its occurrence (if identifiable).


A drug used as a pesticide to cause birds to enter a state of stupor so they can be captured and removed, or to frighten other birds away from the area.

subacute toxicity

Toxicity resulting from an intermediate duration of exposure.

subchronic ecotoxicity

See 'ecotoxicity (subchronic ecotoxicity)'.


A culture derived from a strain that has been recultivated on a different fresh medium.


Under the skin.

subjective sample

A sample of food or other agricultural commodity taken after a known or suspected use of a pesticide thereon.


Having an effect short of death. Causing clinical symptoms that are not fatal.

submersed plant

An aquatic plant adapted to grow with all or most of its vegetative tissue below the water surface.


From s. 3 of the Agvet Code:


  1. any gas, liquid, mixture or compound of gases, or mixture or compound of liquids, and
  2. an organism or part of an organism, including a genetically manipulated organism or part of a genetically manipulated organism, and
  3. material that is produced from an organism, and
  4. matter whose production involves the use of an organism

but does not include an excluded organism or part of an excluded organism, or material that is produced from, or matter whose production involves the use of, an excluded organism.


A component utilised by an organism for growth, or a solid surface to which organisms attach.

In residue analysis, the specific material (commodity, environmental component, biological sample) that is being extracted to recover and isolate the residue.


A shoot that arises from an underground bud on the roots or from the rootstock of a plant that may ultimately form an independent plant.

suitable person test

The suitable person test is applied to existing and prospective holders before they are issued a permit or a manufacturing licence. The test requires the APVMA to be satisfied that an applicant can comply with the conditions of the permit or licence and that a relevant person has not committed a relevant offence in the previous 10 years.

summer annuals

Plants that germinate in the spring, do most of their growing in the summer, produce flowers or seeds, and then die in the autumn.


Any substance added to a pesticide to improve its performance.


In the Agvet Code (s 3) 

Includes do, or cause or permit the doing of, any of the following:

  1. sell
  2. expose for sale
  3. send or deliver for sale or on sale
  4. dispose of under a hire purchase agreement
  5. exchange
  6. give
  7. offer to do an act that would be a supply (including an act referred to in any of the above paragraphs)

and, for example, includes supply under a contract for work or labour that also involves the supply of any thing.

In the Agvet Code Regulations (r. 3).

supply or use permit

A permit issued by the APVMA that allows specified registered agvet products to be used, or supplied and/or used for a specific purpose.

surface sowing

Any technique that places the seed on the surface of the ground.

surface spray

A pesticide that is sprayed evenly over the outside of the entire object to be protected.

An insecticide that is applied directly to surfaces or onto a crawling insect. Surface sprays are used primarily for the control of crawling insects by direct application to the insect or for uptake from a surface that the insect contacts after application to the surface. Insecticidal surface sprays may also be space sprays and are typically aerosols.

surface tension

A surface property of a liquid, causing it to act as an elastic, enveloping membrane. This causes droplets to form spheres in flight. When the drop impacts, it spreads and, when that kinetic energy is expended, the surface tension draws the droplet margins back. Adjuvants may be added to sprays that reduce surface tension to increase spreading of the product by decreasing the cohesion between surface molecules.

surface water

Water that is located above ground and naturally open to the atmosphere (eg ponds, lakes, streams, rivers, seas, reservoirs).

surface-active agent

An adjuvant that reduces the surface tension between two different substances (such as water and oil), to affect (usually increase) its spreading, wetting or emulsifying effects. Many detergents fall into this class of adjuvant.


A material that, when in a pesticidal formulation, imparts emulsifiability, spreading, wetting, dispersibility or other surface modifying properties.


The degree to which an organism can be injured or affected by a pesticide at a known dosage (or exposure).

Lack of capacity to tolerate treatment with a particular pesticide.


Capable of being injured, diseased or poisoned by a pesticide.

susceptible breakpoint

The antibiotic concentration, at the site of action within the target species, at which organisms whose MICs are at, or below, this concentration are highly likely to respond to treatment with that antibiotic.

susceptible humans

Those parts of a human population that are most likely to succumb to an infection by a relevant microorganism (eg foodborne Salmonella infections may occur in the general human population, but enterococcal infections are more likely to occur in susceptible human patients that are hospitalised or immunocompromised).

susceptible species

A plant or animal that is poisoned by moderate amounts of a pesticide.


The amount of solid that remains suspended after a given time in a column of a specified liquid of stated height, under specified conditions.


A pesticide formulation in which finely divided soil particles of an active constituent are mixed (dispersed) in a liquid. The smaller the particle size, the more stable the suspension. Sometimes a suspending agent is required to help particles stay in suspension long enough to allow easier application.

suspension concentrate
suspension concentrate (aqueous)

A highly concentrated, stable suspension of very finely ground, solid active constituent in a fluid (water) intended for dilution with water before use. May be a cloudy liquid. Sometimes known as a 'flowable concentrate'.

The APVMA formulation type code for a suspension concentrate is SC.

suspension concentrate for seed treatment

A stable suspension for application to the seed, either directly or after dilution.

The APVMA formulation type code for a suspension concentrate for seed treatment is FS.


A fluid, heterogeneous formulation consisting of a stable dispersion of active constituent(s) in the form of solid particles and fine globules in a continuous water phase. The APVMA formulation type code for a suspo-emulsion is SE.

swath or swath width

The width of ground (usually crop, pasture or grasslands) covered by a sprayer when it moves across a field or other treated area.

The strip of a surface, appearing in the wake of a machine, that has been covered or treated by that machine (eg the swath of a lawn after one cut by a mower, the swath of a combine harvester, spray boom or spray plane or helicopter).

swirl nozzle

The mutually beneficial coexistence of organisms of two or more species.


The external or internal expressions of disease or poisoning exhibited by affected organisms. Symptom information is used to determine what pesticide or pest is causing the injury, damage or disease.

Compare with 'sign'.


A situation in which two or more substances, chemicals or organisms acting together produce an effect that is greater than would be expected from adding the effects produced when the same substances are applied separately.


An agent that enhances the action of another agent, such that the action of the combination of the two agents is greater than the total effect of the components used separately. These are sometimes referred to as 'activators' and are mainly encountered in insecticidal mixtures.


When the combined action of two pesticides is greater than the sum of their activity when used alone.

synthetic organic pesticides

Human-made pesticides that contain carbon, hydrogen and other elements.

systematic error

A chemical that enters a host or target organism and functions at sites other than that where it was applied.

systemic dose

The amount of a substance that is eventually distributed in the blood, after absorption, distribution and storage.

systemic effect

The consequence that is either generalised in nature or that occurs at a site distant from the point of entry of a substance.

systemic pesticide

A pesticide or substance that is capable of being translocated to sites other than where it was absorbed in sufficient quantities to be biologically effective. Examples include: systemic herbicides that move within plants, affecting parts of a plant that were not directly exposed at application; systemic fungicides that move within plants and have toxic effects on pathogens within plant cells and tissues; and systemic insecticides that move within plants or in the blood stream of vertebrates to kill sucking insects.

systemic poison

Poisons that are absorbed by plants or animals and thereby render the plant or animal poisonous, for a period, to pests feeding on them. This type of poison is used on plants to control sucking insect pests feeding on the plants.

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