Old Herbicide Gets New Life

October 28, 2011 09:30 AM

The herbicide 2,4-D was developed during World War II to increase crop yields for a nation at war. It has become one of the most widely used herbicides. Now, thanks to the insertion of a bacterial aryloxyalkanoate dioxygenase gene, Dow AgroSciences has been able to transform corn, soybeans and cotton to tolerate a new formulation of the old standby.

The overall trait technology will be called the Enlist Weed Control System. The herbicide component, which combines the new 2,4-D and glyphosate, will be known as Enlist Duo.

Farmers who have used 2,4-D know of the compound’s history of volatility and off-target movement. Damon Palmer, Dow’s commercial leader for the Enlist Weed Control System, says the new technology uses 2,4-D choline, not the amine salt or ester versions of the past.

"This is the latest in formulation science, and we have worked hard to address issues such as drift, volatility and odor," Palmer says. Colex-D technology is the official name of the proprietary formulation and manufacturing process that is used to make 2,4-D more user-friendly.

That’s a lot of new names. Think of it this way: Enlist Duo herbicide (with Colex-D technology) will be offered as a postemergence product for use over the top of Enlist herbicide-tolerant crops.

The Enlist system will offer multiple modes of herbicide action. Pending regulatory approvals, the trait system is expected to debut in corn in 2013 with tolerances to the new 2,4-D, glyphosate and fops. In 2014, Dow anticipates bringing the first-ever three-gene herbicide-tolerant soybean to market with tolerance to the new 2,4-D, glyphosate and glufosinate. Enlist cotton has a 2016 expected release.

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