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Pest Manag Sci. 2018 Jan;74(1):9-16. doi: 10.1002/ps.4657. Epub 2017 Aug 24.

Fifty years of herbicide research: comparing the discovery of trifluralin and halauxifen-methyl.

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Dow AgroSciences LLC, Indianapolis, IN, USA.


Fifty years separate the commercialization of the herbicides trifluralin and halauxifen-methyl. Despite the vast degree of technological change that occurred over that time frame, some aspects of their discovery stories are remarkably similar. For example, both herbicides were prepared very early in the iterative discovery process and both were developed from known lead compound structures by hypothesis-driven research efforts without the use of in vitro assays or computer-aided molecular design. However, there are aspects of the halauxifen-methyl and trifluralin discovery stories that are substantially different. For example, the chemical technology required for the cost-effective production of halauxifen-methyl simply did not exist just two decades prior to its commercial launch. By contrast, the chemical technology required for the cost-effective production of trifluralin was reported in the chemical literature more than two decades prior to its commercial launch. In addition, changes in regulatory environment since the early 1960s ensured that their respective discovery to commercial launch stories would also differ in substantial ways. Ultimately, the time and cost required to develop and register halauxifen-methyl demanded a global initial business case while the lower registration hurdles that trifluralin cleared enabled a narrow initial business case mainly focused on the USA.


agrochemical discovery; halauxifen-methyl; herbicide; trifluralin

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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