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June 19th, 2018 / c&en

Crop feeds on phosphite, potentially allowing it to outwit weeds and mitigate pollution from traditional fertilizer runoff
Wily weeds can develop resistance to herbicides, allowing them to compete with genetically modified crops designed to tolerate weed-killing chemicals. Now, a team is proposing another approach to genetically engineering crops to outwit weeds: cotton that feeds on an alternative fertilizer, one that weeds can’t use (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2018, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1804862115). The scientists haven’t yet tested the crops in actual fields, but they say if proven effective, their tactic may suppress weeds and prevent environmental pollution caused by overuse of the traditional fertilizer phosphate. Read more