Monsanto advocates research on herbicide resistant weeds.

Monsanto South Africa is currently running a collaborative research programme with Enterprises University of Pretoria’s Research Solutions, as part of its ongoing commitment to be an innovative, agricultural company that creates relevant solutions for growers, consumers and the environment. The project is currently investigating herbicide resistance in weeds, particularly to glyphosate herbicide. The collaborative research programme is led by Professor Charlie Reinhardt.

The research component of the programme examines and assesses the plant mechanisms involved in resistance to the world’s most popular herbicide. Also included in the research is an emphasis on factors affecting weed resistance and ways to overcome and avoid resistance from taking hold. The programme also considers opportunities for amending current research protocol that applies to weed resistance research.

In November 2015, the programme created an opportunity for University of Pretoria PhD candidate, Ms Martha Okumu, to visit a laboratory at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to explore possibilities to improve research methods and techniques for improved understanding of herbicide resistance. The research grant for the visit was made possible through an international research and development network, funded by the National Research Foundation.

“I visited the Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Science and Genetics in Agriculture, where I spent time learning new techniques in assessing herbicide resistance mechanisms. These included DNA sequencing experiments and the generation of herbicide resistance weed maps,” Martha said.

Overall, the visit was successful. “I learned about new techniques for DNA sequencing and assessing different data readings,” she added. This will contribute to the overall aim of Monsanto South Africa to promote both scientific research and best agricultural practices in the field of crop production.

Caption: Learning new techniques for agricultural improvements.

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