Bioherbicides: Strategies, Challenges and Prospects

  • K. R. AnejaEmail author
  • S. A. Khan
  • A. Aneja


Availability of enough food for ever-growing population is a serious task faced by human race due to pests. Weeds are major kind of pests; their competitive effects on the production and yield of various crops are well documented in India and the world. An increased and indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides, in order to control pests, has resulted in resistance, immunity and resurgence in them. The negative effects of chemical herbicides on nature and natural resources have forced scientists to shift focus on the reliable, sustainable and environment-friendly agents of weed control, the bioherbicides. Microbial-based pesticides, called bioherbicides, are the formulations of host-specific plant pathogens that are applied at high inoculum rates in a similar way as chemical herbicides for the management of weeds. In the majority of the bioherbicides, the fungal organisms are the active ingredients; therefore, the term mycoherbicide has often been used interchangeably with bioherbicide. There has been a great number of naturally occurring fungal plant pathogens worked out for possible use as potential biocontrol agents, but a small proportion has been developed to commercial products. Among the bacterial plant pathogens, Xanthomonas campestris and Pseudomonas fluorescens have shown the potential to be developed as bioherbicides. Some viruses also have been investigated for the potential to control invasive or undesirable weeds (e.g. tobacco mild green mosaic tobamovirus (TMGMV) for control of tropical soda apple in Florida). Twenty-four bioherbicides, based on fungi, bacteria and viruses have been registered around the globe, with several other microbial candidates in various stages of evaluation as bioherbicides. Most of the fungal biocontrol agents used as mycoherbicides have been found to be hemibiotrophs. To make mycoherbicides economical and popular among farmers, there is a strong need to develop mycoherbicides composed of consortia of compatible plant pathogens, each specific to a different weed species that could simultaneously control several weeds at a time. Scientist should lay emphasis on enhancing the pathogenesis of the biocontrol agents for overcoming the dependence on dew, one of the major constraints to make them potential bioherbicide. The pace of development of available bioherbicides including their success and failure, constraints, commercialization as well as current status has been discussed in this paper.


Weeds Bioherbicides Mycoherbicides Biocontrol agents Hemibiotrophs DeVineR Collego™ ABG-5003 Dr. Biosedge® Gibbatrianth Xanthomonas campestris 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Formerly at Department of MicrobiologyKurukshetra UniversityKurukshetraIndia
  2. 2.Department of Biotechnology and MicrobiologyBhagwati College of Management and TechnologyMeerutIndia
  3. 3.University Health Center, Kurukshetra UniversityKurukshetraIndia

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