Overview and Objectives


Historically, herbicides have been discovered by randomly screening collections of chemicals for activity on target weeds.  While totally empirical, this approach has been surprisingly successful and has produced essentially all commercial herbicides currently in use.  More recently, agrichemical companies have adopted directed strategies using in vitro assays, compound structure/activity relationships, and profiling assays of mRNAs, proteins, and metabolites.  These latter approaches, in combination with high-throughput screens, are designed to exploit recent advances in technology and take advantage of our increased understanding of biological systems.  


At the completion of the lesson, students will be able to:  

  1. Describe the history of herbicide discovery and development.
  2. Describe newer techniques currently used to discover and screen herbicides.
  3. Understand the advantages and disadvantages of the currently used methodologies. 
JNRLSE Approved 2008

Development of this lesson was supported in part by the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station, Montana State University, and the Western Society of Weed Science.