Smart formulation development for precision crop protection

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Agriculture Food and Rural Development


The effective delivery of agrochemicals is a key determinant in protecting crops from pathogens, pests and weed competition and is becoming increasingly important in minimizing chemical inputs into the environment through precision application. In this project the effect of varying formulation chemistries on the dynamics of xenobiotic and agrochemical delivery into plant tissues will be determined in relation to efficacy in compound delivery and biological activity. The potential of individual formulants to actively induce plant responses that contribute to herbicide activity will be determined along with optimising their use in mixtures. The work will focus on enhancing the delivery of herbicides in a range of crops and weeds. Technical approaches will include plant physiology and biochemical studies, defining changes in protein and gene expression following exposure to formulants and following herbicide/ xenobiotic movement in planta in real time using bioimaging. The project will provide a thorough training in the latest molecular approaches applied to crop protection science with a strong emphasis on industrially-led research.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/N503988/1 01/10/2015 31/12/2019
1657493 Studentship BB/N503988/1 28/09/2015 30/12/2019 Steven James Banks
Description By utilising herbicide metabolites and parent compounds I have been able to investigate the effects of a selection of adjuvants upon a base herbicide formulation, and the influence of these adjuvants on uptake into wheat, and two weed species, black grass and lolium. Due to the nature of the adjuvants used, they provide a chemical series with progressively changing properties (e.g. Tween compounds in which each one has a progressively increasing level of ethoxylation). This has allowed for the effects of progressive changes in adjuvant properties and its effect upon uptake to be investigated. In addition, the waxy structure of these plants have been investigated, both in terms of physical properties, of which each of wheat, black grass and lolium remain the same, as well as the chemical composition which, in-spite of similarities in structural appearance, is significantly different within each plant and thought to play a major role in herbicide uptake. It appears that a number of these adjuvants have a significant influence on uptake rates, particularly within black grass where the variations between each adjuvant used is substantial. This is less apparent in wheat with chemical classes generally behaving similarly regardless of the progressive change in properties.
Exploitation Route Further expansion into other crop and weed species and well as investigation into the impacts of adjuvants upon resistant strains.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink