Location: Soybean and Nitrogen Fixation ResearchTitle: Views of RNAi approaches for weed management in turfgrass systems
|ETHRIDGE, SANDRA - North Carolina State University|
|GRIEGER, KHARA - North Carolina State University|
|EVERMAN, WESLEY - North Carolina State University|
|JORDAN, DAVID - North Carolina State University|
|LEON, RAMON - North Carolina State University|
Submitted to: Weed Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/28/2023
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Public opinions and concerns about weed control technologies are important considerations when developing new products. A new technology with potential for effective weed control is RNAi. Before developing this technology for consumer use in weed control, researchers need to understand stakeholder views about this technology. Here, we surveyed stakeholders who manage turfgrass, including lawn care professionals and golf course superintendents. The survey results showed that stakeholders view time and money as key challenges in weed control. When considering new weed management technologies, the stakeholders were most concerned about product cost, efficacy, and efficiency. Overall, the stakeholders showed willingness to adopt or help test RNAi weed management technology in their turfgrass. The turfgrass management professionals surveyed here believed that the public might have some concerns about RNAi technology but would ultimately be accepting of RNAi weed control technology.
Technical Abstract: The concern of the public for the use of herbicides in urban areas (e.g., golf courses, parks, lawns) is increasing. Thus, there is a need for alternative methods of weed control that are safe for the public, effective against weeds, and yet selective to turfgrass and other desirable species. New molecular tools such as RNAi can meet all those requirements, but before these technologies can be implemented, it is critical to understand the perceptions of stakeholders to facilitate adoption as well as regulatory processes. With this in mind, stakeholders managing turfgrass systems, such as golf course superintendents and lawn care providers, were surveyed to gain insight to the perception and potential adoption of RNAi technology for weed management. Based on survey results, turfgrass stakeholders believe that cost of weed management and time spent managing weeds are key challenges faced in their fields. When considering new weed management tools, stakeholders are most concerned about cost, efficacy, and efficiency of a new product. Stakeholders showed optimism toward RNAi for weed management and would either use this technology in their own fields or be willing to conduct research to develop RNAi herbicides. Although stakeholders believed that the general public would have some concerns about his technology, they themselves did not believe this to be the most important factor for them when choosing new weed management tools. The need for new herbicides to balance weed control challenges and public demands is a central factor for turfgrass managers’ willingness to use of RNAi-based weed control in turfgrass systems. They believe their clientele will be accepting of RNAi tools, and this could be either a misunderstanding of the concerns of the public or an encouraging perspective for quick adoption.