Link to home

The first commercial bioherbicide based on a virus

Raghavan Charudattan: Univ of Florida

<div>Tobacco mild green mosaic virus strain U2 (TMGMV U2) elicits systemic necrosis and kills the noxious weed, <em>Solanum viarum </em>(tropical soda apple; TSA). In 2014, the U.S. EPA granted unrestricted FIFRA Section 3 registration for TMGMV U2 as a bioherbicide for TSA. It was the first registration of a virus as an herbicide active ingredient, and the product <em>SolviNix<sup>® </sup></em>LC became the world’s first virus-based bioherbicide. <em> SolviNix </em>is applied by post-emergence spraying to control TSA in pastures and conservation areas. It controls TSA without harming grass, legumes intercropped in pastures, and native plants in and around pastures, or polluting soil or water. When properly applied to the foliage of actively growing TSA, <em>SolviNix </em>consistently kills TSA, including the roots. A scalable industrial manufacturing process has been developed to produce TMGMV U2 to meet variable market demands. As an unprecedented case, the registration of TMGMV U2 raised several specific concerns that needed to be addressed with empirical data or rational theory. Among them were whether TMGMV U2 was “widely prevalent” in the United States; its potential to spread “widely and uncontrollably” from the herbicidal use; the potential to be spread by farm machinery, cattle, and wildlife; its persistence in soil, water, and plant debris, and the risk to nontarget plants from the “moderately wide” host range of the virus. A synopsis of the data and arguments presented to justify the registration as well as the rationale for the label restrictions and the allowed application tools will be discussed.</div>