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A non-food wheat used as natural herbicide

Japanese researchers announce that they have developed a kind of wheat which can inhibit the growth of weed

Japanese researchers announce that they have developed a kind of wheat which can inhibit the growth of weed. Although this wheat is not suitable for human consumption, it can be used as a natural herbicide when cultivated with soybeans.

According to the report on Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun Web site, Geng Murai, professor of Heredity and Breeding from Fukui Prefectural University and other researchers have cultivated a wheat species "LM12" which can grow with soybeans by doing Selection-Breeding experiment on about 100 wheat species repeatedly for over two years.

"LM12" is sowed with soybean together in mid-June. It can inhibit the growth of weeds, because it can germinate ahead of weeds. On the other hand, "LM12" is a plant of slow growth which can only grow to about 20 cm because of its slow growth, while soybean plants are about 60 cm high. Therefore, "LM12" won't fight for nutrients with the soybeans and won't block sunlight soybean need.

"LM12" will wither at the end of September before soybean harvest, so it is unnecessary to cut the wheat.

The researchers are going to sum up and sort out the detail data influencing soybean's quality next year. They will start large-scale cultivation experiments in cooperation with relevant departments of Fukui Prefecture.

Geng Murai said some wheat varieties grow slowly, which are not suitable for food crops. Therefore, they consider how to change its weakness into usefulness. By cultivating the "LM12" wheat, they hope to develop safe cultivation method of soybean without using herbicides.

by S. C.
07 february 2011, Technical Area > Science News

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