Challenges In Biological Control

Several reviews have provided a suggested list of desirable characteristics for a bioherbicide candidate in order for it to be successful (Charudattan 1991; Makowski 1997; Mortensen 1998). Generally, these traits include: (a) a narrow host range, (b) ease of use, (c) genetic stability, (d) ability to mass produce inoculum cost-effectively with long shelf life, and (e) ability to be fast-acting with predictable field performance and provide sufficient weed control comparable to chemical herbicides. Many of these traits, along with the term bioherbicide (mycoherbicide), may create unrealistic expectations that all bioherbicides should eradicate weed populations, similar to chemical herbicides (Auld and Morin 1995). The challenges that have limited the advancement of bioherbicides have been categorized into four constraints: (a) biological, (b) environmental, (c) technological, and (d) commercial. While the commercial consideration is important, this review will focus on addressing the other three constraints. Researchers can make pragmatic decisions on the selection of an appropriate target weed that may have impact on the market decisions by industry to invest in the development of bioherbicide agents, but the regulatory environment for registration of such products is often affected by political will and/or policy of individual governments.

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