The efficacy of an agrochemical on a plant and/or pest is controlled by multiple interactions, the most obvious being between an agrochemical and its target protein (i.e. the interaction directly responsible for biological activity). Other key interactions determining agrochemical bioactivity include those with proteins involved in xeno-metabolism and transport as well as those with lipids (e.g. cell membranes). A lack of fundamental understanding of the regulatory and design rules that dictate these interactions, however, currently hampers the predictive and analytical capabilities of agri-scientists when designing and developing novel agrochemicals.
Chemical tools and technologies that probe (i) the Delivery and (ii) the Destiny of agrochemicals will make step changes to the efficiency of the agrochemical pipeline and will therefore facilitate the downstream development of novel and durable strategies for defense mechanisms and yield increases in plants. The NexGenAgriChem addresses this technology vacuum in the agrochemical sector by training a cohort of PhD students at the physical and agrisciences interface who will stimulate the development of next generation tools and technologies for studying the delivery and destiny of agrochemicals at a molecular level.