Feasibility of using mycoherbicides to control illicit drug crops is uncertain

The effectiveness of using specific fungi as mycoherbicides to combat illicit drug crops remains questionable due to the lack of quality, in-depth research, says a new report from the National Research Council.

Questions about the degree of control that could be achieved with such mycoherbicides, as well as uncertainties about their potential effects on nontarget plants, microorganisms, animals, humans, and the environment must be addressed before considering deployment. The report states that additional research is needed to assess the safety and effectiveness of proposed strains of mycoherbicides.

Mycoherbicides, created from plant , have been proposed as one tool to eradicate illicit drug crops. Congress requested an independent examination of the scientific issues associated with the feasibility of developing and implementing naturally occurring strains of these fungi to control the illicit cultivation of cannabis, coca, and crops.

As an initial step, the report recommends research to study several candidate strains of each fungus in order to identify the most efficacious under a broad array of . The resulting information would guide decisions regarding product formulation, the appropriate , and the scale required to generate enough mycoherbicide product to achieve significant control. However, conducting the research does not guarantee that a feasible mycoherbicide product will result. Furthermore, countermeasures can be developed against mycoherbicides, and there are unavoidable risks from releasing substantial numbers of into an ecosystem.

Multiple regulatory requirements would also have to be met before a mycoherbicide could be deployed. Additional regulations and agreements might also be needed before these tools could be used internationally, as approval to conduct tests in countries where mycoherbicides might be used has been difficult or impossible to obtain in the past.


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Citation: Feasibility of using mycoherbicides to control illicit drug crops is uncertain (2011, November 30) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-11-feasibility-mycoherbicides-illicit-drug-crops.html
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Nov 30, 2011
Wont this be fantastic? Let's say they can target only those crops listed in the article... So you release it in Afghanistan to destroy opium crops.. it gets back to the US and we've effectively killed the production of opioid pharmaceuticals over here.. Most of them are derived naturally because it is much easier than synthesizing common chemicals...
This idea, IMO, is nuts.

Nov 30, 2011
A more direct approach would probably be more effective - control illicit drug PRODUCERS.

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