‘Game changer’ herbicide that could supplement glyphosate developed from anti-malaria chemical

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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Researchers from the University of Western Australia (UWA) have used chemicals destined to develop new treatments for malaria as a launching pad to create new herbicides that could be available in the next five to 10 years.

The research conducted “on the smell of an oily rag” in Western Australia could be a game changer for growers worldwide, after a sharp rise in glyphosate-resistant winter and summer weeds.

Joshua Mylne, who led the project at UWA, started work on the research more than a decade ago when he was in the Australian Army Reserve in Brisbane.

“What is really needed right now is … a herbicide which operates in a new way,” [said Mylne].

After the discovery of glyphosate by United States chemist John E. Franz in 1970, no truly new molecule that kills weeds differently has entered the herbicide market.

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After screening about 80 compounds from the open-source chemical box provided by the Medicines for Malaria Venture, the researchers identified one molecule, MMV006188, that had extremely effective herbicidal properties.

German agrochemical company BASF took a set of 16 compounds from the researchers to analyse how they killed weeds.

They discovered the MMV006188 molecule attacked part of the plant’s photosynthetic machinery, called Photosystem II.

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The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: WA scientists use malaria chemicals to craft new herbicides

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