University of Western Australia: Herbicide research provides sustainable farming solutions

Work at The University of Western Australia is contributing to new and sustainable farming solutions with its research into herbicides.

New WA-based agricultural technology company DemAgtech is commercialising herbicides developed at UWA with the aim to develop products that address the increasing issue of herbicide resistance.

Simon Handford, Manager Research Commercialisation at UWA said the University was pleased to have spun out the technology into DemAgtech to progress this exciting intellectual property through to commercialisation.

“The founders of the company understood the potential that our research offers and have pulled this together very quickly so we’re delighted to be able to announce another new venture,” Mr Handford said.

DemAgtech intends to develop the product to meet continuing growers’ needs for herbicides suitable for major crop use.

Professor Joshua Mylne (formerly of UWA and now at Curtin University) and Associate Professor Keith Stubbs, from UWA’s School of Molecular Sciences, as well as Research Fellows Dr Joel Haywood and Dr Karen Breese, use synthetic chemistry, biochemistry and genetics tools along with model plants to investigate the effectiveness of different types of herbicides.

Co-inventor Associate Professor Stubbs said the herbicidal compounds were expected to combine cost-efficient manufacturing with favourable product characteristics compared to other chemistry products in the market.

Todd Shand, a founding director of DemAgtech, said the team had developed a robust patent-life strategy for this opportunity.

“We are pleased we have been able to secure the seed funding to establish the company and commence the industry validation and commercialisation,” Mr Shand said.

“The opportunity demonstrates the capacity for innovation and research excellence in Western Australia.”