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International Journal of Agronomy
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 636905, 14 pages
Review Article

Microwave Technologies as Part of an Integrated Weed Management Strategy: A Review

Melbourne School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne, Dookie Campus, Nalinga Road, Dookie, VIC 3647, Australia

Received 27 June 2011; Accepted 7 September 2011

Academic Editor: David Clay

Copyright © 2012 Graham Brodie et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Interest in controlling weed plants using radio frequency or microwave energy has been growing in recent years because of the growing concerns about herbicide resistance and chemical residues in the environment. This paper reviews the prospects of using microwave energy to manage weeds. Microwave energy effectively kills weed plants and their seeds; however, most studies have focused on applying the microwave energy over a sizable area, which requires about ten times the energy that is embodied in conventional chemical treatments to achieve effective weed control. A closer analysis of the microwave heating phenomenon suggests that thermal runaway can reduce microwave weed treatment time by at least one order of magnitude. If thermal runaway can be induced in weed plants, the energy costs associated with microwave weed management would be comparable with chemical weed control.