Help for farmers: Dr. Bernd Laber (right) analyzes the DNA of weeds to track down the mutations responsible for resistance to herbicides.
Corn, wheat and canola have many enemies. It's not only weeds that compete with them for food. Hungry insects and fungal pathogens also pose a threat to plant life. Researchers at Bayer CropScience are developing innovative products to protect crops - customized solutions designed to protect harvests the world over.
These tiny harvest helpers have neither arms nor legs, but farmers worldwide rely on the support they provide. Were it not for the innovative molecules inside crop protection products, the corn earworm, weeds and Fusarium could spread unhindered, with dramatic effects.
Pathogenic fungi, for example, can destroy up to 30 percent of harvests worldwide. Yet the chemicals that farmers use have a difficult mission to fulfill. They have to target pests, fungi and weeds specifically, but at the same time these herbicides, insecticides and fungicides must pose no risk to people or the environment. This is why chemists, biologists and entomologists (insect specialists) at Bayer CropScience are working on effective, environmentally compatible mechanisms of action for innovative crop protection products. In this way they are helping farmers round the globe to safeguard the food supply for a growing world population. These researchers are also making rice, tomatoes and canola more tolerant of climatic stress factors.