Researchers at The University of Western Australia have teamed up with Queensland-based plant healthcare company Nexgen Plants to help combat Australia’s growing herbicide resistance problem.
Associate Professor Joshua Mylne from UWA’s School of Molecular Sciences said the partnership would enable the development of innovative new solutions and discovery of more effective herbicide target proteins.
“Australia has some of the highest rates of herbicide resistance in the world,” Professor Mylne said. “This support from Nexgen Plants will fund solutions that can help address this growing global issue.
“The team from Nexgen Plants has decades of ag-tech industry experience and will help us navigate the regulatory landscape, as well as identify and focus on the best opportunities that our work can capture.”
Associate Professors Joshua Mylne and Keith Stubbs, with Research Fellow Joel Haywood, use synthetic chemistry, biochemistry and genetics tools along with model plants to investigate the effectiveness of different types of herbicides.
Simon Handford, Manager Research Commercialisation at UWA, said it was important that the University’s ideas and research capabilities were partnered with local and national companies, as it helped drive innovation.
“We’re delighted to have helped facilitate the partnership between Nexgen and the team from UWA’s School of Molecular Sciences,” Mr Handford said.
“Agriculture and food security are one of UWA’s Grand Challenges, and developing new herbicides fits well with our commitment towards sustainable environments.”
Nexgen Plants CEO Philippe Herve said the partnership would strengthen efforts in developing plant healthcare solutions for sustainable crop farming and weed control.
“I am pleased to work with such a motivated and diverse team that is committed to working hard and solving great world challenges,” Mr Herve said.
“Developing solutions to sustainable crop farming will become even more important for future generations, especially if we truly want to shift our economy towards more plant-based products and mitigate climate change.”
Nexgen Plants Pty Ltd was founded by UniQuest in 2013 with technology developed at the University of Queensland, Australia. Nexgen received seed funding from Yuuwa Capital and Uniseed. The company implements an extensive program to develop innovative solutions to protect crops against weeds, pests and diseases.