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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DISCOVERY AND DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL PRODUCT-BASED WEED MANAGEMENT METHODS Title: Glyphosate degradation in glyphosate-resistant crops and weeds and susceptible crops and weeds

Author
item Duke, Stephen

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 22, 2010
Publication Date: October 4, 2010
Citation: Duke, S.O. 2010. Glyphosate degradation in glyphosate-resistant crops and weeds and susceptible crops and weeds. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 59:5835-5841.

Interpretive Summary: High levels of aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), the main glyphosate metabolite, have been found in glyphosate-treated, glyphosate-resistant (GR) soybean, apparently due to plant glyphosate oxidoreductase (GOX) – like activity. AMPA is mildly phytotoxic, and under some conditions the AMPA accumulating in GR soybean correlates with glyphosate-caused phytotoxicity. A bacterial GOX is used in GR canola, and an altered bacterial glyphosate N-acetyltransferase is planned for a new generation of GR crops. In some weed species, glyphosate degradation could contribute to natural resistance. Neither an isolated plant GOX enzyme nor a gene for it has yet been reported in plants. Gene mutation or amplification of plant genes for GOX-like enzyme activity or horizontal transfer of microbial genes from glyphosate-degrading enzymes could produce GR weeds. Yet, there is no evidence that metabolic degradation plays a significant role in evolved resistance to glyphosate. Considering the extreme selection pressure for evolution of glyphosate resistance in weeds and the difficulty in plants evolving glyphosate resistance via other mechanisms, this is surprising.

Technical Abstract: High levels of aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), the main glyphosate metabolite, have been found in glyphosate-treated, glyphosate-resistant (GR) soybean, apparently due to plant glyphosate oxidoreductase (GOX) – like activity. AMPA is mildly phytotoxic, and under some conditions the AMPA accumulating in GR soybean correlates with glyphosate-caused phytotoxicity. A bacterial GOX is used in GR canola, and an altered bacterial glyphosate N-acetyltransferase is planned for a new generation of GR crops. In some weed species, glyphosate degradation could contribute to natural resistance. Neither an isolated plant GOX enzyme nor a gene for it has yet been reported in plants. Gene mutation or amplification of plant genes for GOX-like enzyme activity or horizontal transfer of microbial genes from glyphosate-degrading enzymes could produce GR weeds. Yet, there is no evidence that metabolic degradation plays a significant role in evolved resistance to glyphosate. Considering the extreme selection pressure for evolution of glyphosate resistance in weeds and the difficulty in plants evolving glyphosate resistance via other mechanisms, this is surprising.

Last Modified: 11/23/2014
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