Submitted to: Weed Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/8/2011
Publication Date: 8/3/2011
Citation: Belz, R.G., Cedergreen, N., Duke, S.O. 2011. Herbicide hormesis-can it be useful in crop production. Weed Research. 51,321-332. Interpretive Summary: Hormesis is the stimulatory effect at a low dose of a toxic substance. Many herbicides and natural phytotoxins have been found to simulate the growth of plants at very low doses. This review discusses the possibility of harnessing this phenomenon for enhancement of crop yields. This is an old idea, but the previous attempts to do this have been conducted with a very poor understanding of the factors that influence hormesis. This review highlights selected recent advances in the fundamental understanding of phytotoxin-induced plant hormesis and discusses consequences for possible uses of herbicides.
Technical Abstract: The yield-enhancing effects of some pesticides may change the focus in their use in crop production, from crop protection to crop enhancement. While such beneficial uses of pesticides are specifically en vogue for fungicides and seed treatments, the use of herbicides for crop enhancement has not yet been realized. The potential for improving crop production by low-dose, stimulatory effects of herbicides has been proposed and reports of 10-25% efficiency of improving certain plant traits under field conditions seem promising however, past attempts to make use of herbicide hormesis have been largely unsuccessful. The reasons for this may be manifold; however, the lack of understanding the principles and mechanisms of this low-dose phenomenon in plants may have contributed to the often claimed lack of adequate predictability for commercial use. Thanks to the research progress recently made in this area, we are now better able to understand the principles of herbicide hormesis and its potential for crop enhancement. Therefore, this review highlights selected recent advances in the fundamental understanding of phytotoxin-induced plant hormesis and discusses possible consequences for the portfolio of uses for herbicides.