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Sterile Pollen Technique Shows Promise for Palmer Amaranth Weed Control

Newly published research provides a novel and sustainable weed-management strategy

Posted on May 22, 2024

WESTMINSTER, Colorado – 22 May 2024 – Recently published research in the journal Weed Science shows that a sterilization technique commonly used to control insect pests can be modified to control weeds that require pollination to reproduce. More specifically, the researchers determined that employing a sterile pollen technique (SPT) could effectively disrupt Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri S.) reproduction.

Palmer amaranth remains among the most detrimental weeds in North American agriculture, and its resistance to several herbicide groups makes its control a serious challenge. Yet, researchers in this study were able to find a promising new control method for Palmer amaranth and possibly for many other difficult-to-control weeds.

“Our results indicate that SPT, using irradiated pollen, can be a valuable approach for reducing weed-seed production,” says Mohsen B. Mesgaran, Ph.D., a plant sciences assistant professor at the University of California Davis, and the article’s corresponding author. “SPT also holds potential for broad-spectrum weed control by mixing sterile pollen from multiple weed species in a single application.”

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