Herbicide discovery in light of rapidly spreading resistance and ever-increasing regulatory hurdles.


According to the United Nations, the global population is expected to grow to almost 10 billion people in 2050. This means that the demand for food, feed and fiber will double while at the same time, agriculture is being challenged by a scarcity of water, global warming, less land available for farming, protection of natural habitats, a demand for biodiversity on farms and other factors. In addition, crop protection products are under pressure from rapidly spreading resistance and increasing regulatory requirements. Many regulatory bodies are also moving away from a risk assessment approach to a more hazard-based approach to grant registrations. Nevertheless, chemical crop protection compounds remain attractive and necessary to combat pests, particularly weeds. Industry has increased its efforts to find new molecules that are highly biologically effective on target species, including resistant populations, but safe for non-target organisms. To manage resistance in the future, a diverse toolbox is needed that includes herbicides with a variety of different chemistries and modes of action, combined with non-chemical measures in integrated systems. However, discovering a herbicide and getting it registered and to the market is an extremely complex endeavor full of risk, much of it incalculable. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry.


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