The research activity of the Legnaro Unit is focused on weed science and covers various research themes of the Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection. The research activities aim to improve the sustainability of weed control and management by reducing the use of herbicides and assessing the environmental risk. Specifically, the main activities carried out are the following:
- Monitoring and epidemiology of herbicide resistant weeds in the main crops.
- Profiling of herbicide resistant weed populations through bioassays performed in semi-controlled environments; study of mechanisms endowing resistance through biochemical and molecular approaches; comparative fitness study of susceptible and resistant weeds, population genetics and resistance evolution.
- Set-up of tools for resistance diagnosis (quick-test on Petri dishes) and molecular markers mainly based on PCR techniques (PCR specific-allele, endonuclease digestion) and LAMP protocol. Development of molecular markers for weed species identification (DNA barcoding).
- Integrated weed management. Design and multidisciplinary evaluation of weed management strategies. Development of predictive models for weed seedling emergence and Decision-Support-Systems for weed management. Weed management in organic agriculture.
- Weed Biology and the study of the main stages of weed life cycle (i.e. germination, flowering, dissemination) to facilitate the design of sustainable management strategies.
- Environmental agronomy, environmental fate of pesticides and mitigation measures; vegetation management.
The Legnaro Unit created and currently manages the web site of the Italian Working Group on Herbicide Resistance (GIRE) and the database of herbicide resistance in Italy.