Review: amino acid biosynthesis as a target for herbicide development
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There are three amino acid biosynthesis pathways that are targeted by current herbicides, namely those leading to the production of aromatic amino acids, branched chain amino acids and glutamine. However, their efficacy is diminishing as a result of the increasing number of resistant weeds. Indeed, resistance to most classes of herbicides is on the rise, posing a significant threat to the utility of current herbicides to sustain effective weed management. This review provides an overview of potential herbicide targets within amino acid biosynthesis that remain unexploited commercially, and recent inhibitor discovery efforts. Despite contemporary approaches to herbicide discovery, such as chemical repurposing and the use of omics technologies, there have been no new products introduced to the market that inhibit amino acid biosynthesis over the past three decades. This highlights the chasm that exists between identifying a potent inhibitor and introducing a commercial herbicide. The unpredictability of a mode of action at the systemic level, as well as poor physicochemical properties, often contribute to a lack of progression beyond the target inhibition stage. Nevertheless, it will be important to overcome these obstacles for the development of new herbicides to protect our agricultural industry and ensure food security for an increasing world population. © 2020 Society of Chemical Industry.
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