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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Oxford, Mississippi » Natural Products Utilization Research » Research » Research Project #429936

Research Project: New Weed Management Tools from Natural Product-Based Discoveries

Location: Natural Products Utilization Research

Project Number: 6060-21410-011-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Oct 26, 2015
End Date: Oct 25, 2020

The overall goal of this project is to discover and develop natural product-based weed management solutions. The research is divided into discovery and development of biochemical bioherbicides and creation of crops that are resistant to weeds by transgenically imparting or improving plant/plant allelopathy. This research should provide new avenues for the development of affordable and effective, yet sustainable, weed control strategies. 1. Discover and develop natural product-based bioherbicides that provide environmentally safe and toxicologically benign tools for weed management, with novel modes of action, to address current problems associated with herbicide resistant weeds. 1.1. Discover new and existing natural products for potential use as herbicides and bioherbicides. 1.2. Discovery of the mechanisms of action for newly discovered phytotoxins using chemical structure clues and physiological evaluations. 1.3. Develop natural products as new weed management tools. 2. Develop plant-incorporated bioherbicide technologies for weed management based on known or newly discovered allelochemicals. 2.1. Complete the characterization of the gene products of putative genes for enzymes of the sorgoleone biosynthetic pathway. 2.2. The use of sorghum transformants possessing altered sorgoleone levels to investigate the ecophysiological role of sorgoleone. 2.3. Identification of plant promoters to facilitate root hair-specific metabolic engineering of sorgoleone biosynthesis. 2.4. Engineering de novo sorgoleone biosynthesis in non-producing host plants.

Bioassay-directed isolation of phytotoxin will be followed by their evaluation of their potential as bioherbicides and determination of their modes of action. Genes of the sorgoleone synthesis pathway with root hair-specific promoters will be inserted into plants with the intent to impart or improve allelopathic capacity for enhanced weed management.