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Research Project: Discovery and Development of Natural Product-based Weed Management Methods

Location: Natural Products Utilization Research

Title: Biotechnology in weed control

Author
item Duke, Stephen
item Scheffler, Brian
item Boyette, Clyde
item Dayan, Franck

Submitted to: Kirk Othmer Encyclopedia for Technical Technology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/16/2015
Publication Date: 6/25/2015
Citation: Duke, S.O., Scheffler, B.E., Boyette, C.D., Dayan, F.E. 2015. Biotechnology in weed control. In: Kirk Othmer Encyclopedia for Technical Technology, Wiley Interscience, New York. p. 1-25. DOI: 10.1002/0471238961.

Interpretive Summary: Biotechnology can be used to enhance the management of weeds in several ways. Crops have been made resistant to herbicides by inserting transgenes that impart herbicide resistance into the plant genome. Glyphosate and glufosinate-resistant crops are commercialized in North America and crops made resistant to 2,4-D, dicamba, and hydroxyphenyl pyruvate dioxygenase-inhibiting herbicides will soon be grown. This technology has been highly successful in transforming weed management in several major crops. Selection for mutations that impart herbicide resistance to crops has also been successfully used to generate herbicide-resistant crops. There are several living microbial products for the biocontrol of weeds. These agents have not been very successful, but research is being conducted to improve them with biotechnology methods. The use of crops that produce their own herbicides (allelopathy) has been even less successful. Biotechnological approaches are being used to generate crops that are toxic to weeds with less or without synthetic chemical inputs. Research on natural phytotoxins from plants (allelochemicals) has also provided lead compounds for herbicide discovery.

Technical Abstract: Biotechnology can be used to enhance the management of weeds in several ways. Crops have been made resistant to herbicides by inserting transgenes that impart herbicide resistance into the plant genome. Glyphosate and glufosinate-resistant crops are commercialized in North America and crops made resistant to 2,4-D, dicamba, and hydroxyphenyl pyruvate dioxygenase-inhibiting herbicides will soon be grown. This technology has been highly successful in transforming weed management in several major crops. Selection for mutations that impart herbicide resistance to crops has also been successfully used to generate herbicide-resistant crops. There are several living microbial products for the biocontrol of weeds. These agents have not been very successful, but research is being conducted to improve them with biotechnology methods. The use of crops that produce their own herbicides (allelopathy) has been even less successful. Biotechnological approaches are being used to generate crops that are toxic to weeds with less or without synthetic chemical inputs. Research on natural phytotoxins from plants (allelochemicals) has also provided lead compounds for herbicide discovery.