International collaboration advances research

Posted on March 31, 2016

Monsanto South Africa is currently running a collaborative research programme with Enterprises University of Pretoria’s Research Solutions, as part of its ongoing commitment to be an innovative agricultural company that creates relevant solutions for growers, consumers and the environment. The programme, led by Professor Charlie Reinhardt, is currently investigating weed resistance to herbicides, particularly glyphosate.

The research component of the programme examines and assesses the plant mechanisms involved in resistance to the world’s most popular herbicide, factors that affect weed resistance and ways to overcome and avoid this problem. The programme also considers opportunities for amending current research protocol around weed resistance research.

In November 2015, the programme created an opportunity for University of Pretoria PhD candidate Ms Martha Okumu to visit a laboratory at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to explore the possibility of improving research methods and techniques in order to gain a deeper understanding of herbicide resistance. The research grant for the visit was made possible through an international research and development network funded by the National Research Foundation.

‘I visited the Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Science and Genetics in Agriculture, where I spent time learning new techniques for assessing herbicide resistance mechanisms. These included DNA sequencing experiments and generation of weed maps to track herbicide resistance,’ said Ms Okumu. ‘I learned about new techniques for DNA sequencing and about assessing different data readings.’

The knowledge Ms Okumu gained during her visit will contribute towards Monsanto South Africa’s aim of promoting both scientific research and best practice in the field of crop production.


For more information on the various Research Solutions available, visit and for more information on Monsanto, visit


- Author Enterprises University of Pretoria: Research Solutions

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