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10 July 2007 Conventional and biotechnological approaches for control of parasitic weeds
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On a worldwide basis, parasitic weeds represent one of the most destructive and intractable problems to agricultural production in both developed and developing countries. About 20 families (3,000–5,000 species) of higher plants are parasitic on the plant kingdom and may cause production losses of 30–80% in staple food and industrial crops on every continent. Compared with the other weeds, parasitic weeds are difficult to control by conventional means because of their life style: Parasites are intimately involved with the host and have so much metabolic overlap with the host that differential treatments are very difficult to develop. In some cases, the parasites are closely associated to the host root, concealed underground, and undiagnosed until they irreversible damage the crop. Several different approaches (cultural, mechanical, chemical, use of resistant varieties, and biological) to control parasitic weeds are currently in use, but are only partially successful. Recent reviews have covered the physiology and interactions between parasitic plants and their hosts, taxonomy, and the biology and classical control of parasitic weeds. The current review will discuss why alternative methods are needed to control parasitic weeds and will summarize conventional and new biotechnology-based control measures against the major world pests Striga, Orobanche, Cuscuta, and mistletoes (Phoradendron and Viscum genera). Effectiveness, advantages and disadvantages, environment safety, and simplicity of these new biotechnological methods will be reviewed.

Radi Aly "Conventional and biotechnological approaches for control of parasitic weeds," In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Plant 43(4), 304-317, (10 July 2007).
Received: 24 July 2006; Accepted: 25 July 2007; Published: 10 July 2007

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