Development of New Plant Growth Regulators from a University Perspective

in HortTechnology

Plant growth regulators (PGRs) play an important commercial role in horticulture. Although often expensive, they are generally used on high value crops where the costs can be retrieved through the increased value their usage creates in a given crop. The impetus for development of new PGRs is generally initiated by the agrochemical industry where they perceive a need that has a profit potential, whereas the motivation for the development of a PGR by researchers is largely to aid the industry they serve. University and government researchers initially follow a prescribed protocol early in the development process, but once they have gained personal experience with a PGR, further research is often guided by personal observations and keen technical insight. During the development and evaluation process, university and government researchers are optimistic, and negative effects are generally viewed as challenges, that can and will be overcome. Discussion and effective communication are critical components in the overall development of a new PGR. Researchers generally exchange information very freely, unless restricted from doing so by a nondisclosure or other contract agreement. The underlying goal for university and government researchers is to get approval of a new PGR product and/or use that will allow growers to produce a high quality product for consumers with an improved profit margin for growers. Development of new PGRs is undergoing major change that unfortunately will lead to the development and registration of fewer compounds. There are not as many agrochemical companies, there are a decreasing number of university and government researchers, and diminishing funds available to support the development of new PGRs.

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