New products to tackle herbicide resistance

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Adam PoulsenCountryman
Herbicides developed at the University of Western Australia and Curtin University are being developed for use on major crops.
Camera IconHerbicides developed at the University of Western Australia and Curtin University are being developed for use on major crops. Credit: Cally Dupe/Countryman

Herbicides developed at the University of Western Australia and Curtin University are being commercialised in a bid to address the increasing problem of herbicide resistance.

The products are being developed for use on major crops, with new WA-based agricultural technology company DemAgtech driving the business side of the project.

A small team of researchers, including UWA School of Molecular Sciences Associate Professor Keith Stubbs and Curtin University Professor Joshua Mylne (formally of UWA), have been using synthetic chemistry, biochemistry and genetics tools, along with model plants to investigate the effectiveness of different types of herbicides.

Professor Stubbs said the herbicidal compounds were expected to combine cost-efficient manufacturing with favourable product characteristics compared with other chemistry products in the market.

UWA research commercialisation manager Simon Handford said it was pleasing to see the “exciting intellectual property” progressed through to commercialisation.

“The founders of the company understood the potential that our research offers and have pulled this together very quickly, so we’re delighted to be able to announce another new venture,” he said.

DemAgtech founding director Todd Shand said the team had developed a robust patent-life strategy.

“We are pleased we have been able to secure the seed funding to establish the company and commence the industry validation and commercialisation,” he said.

“The opportunity demonstrates the capacity for innovation and research excellence in Western Australia.”

DemAgtech research efforts are undertaken in partnership with UWA and Curtin University’s Centre for Crop and Disease Management.

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