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J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Dec 27;54(26):10019-25.

Foliar-applied glyphosate substantially reduced uptake and transport of iron and manganese in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) plants.

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Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Cukurova University, 01330 Adana, Turkey.


Evidence clearly shows that cationic micronutrients in spray solutions reduce the herbicidal effectiveness of glyphosate for weed control due to the formation of metal-glyphosate complexes. The formation of these glyphosate-metal complexes in plant tissue may also impair micronutrient nutrition of nontarget plants when exposed to glyphosate drift or glyphosate residues in soil. In the present study, the effects of simulated glyphosate drift on plant growth and uptake, translocation, and accumulation (tissue concentration) of iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), and copper (Cu) were investigated in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) plants grown in nutrient solution under controlled environmental conditions. Glyphosate was sprayed on plant shoots at different rates between 1.25 and 6.0% of the recommended dosage (i.e., 0.39 and 1.89 mM glyphosate isopropylamine salt). Glyphosate applications significantly decreased root and shoot dry matter production and chlorophyll concentrations of young leaves and shoot tips. The basal parts of the youngest leaves and shoot tips were severely chlorotic. These effects became apparent within 48 h after the glyphosate spray. Glyphosate also caused substantial decreases in leaf concentration of Fe and Mn while the concentration of Zn and Cu was less affected. In short-term uptake experiments with radiolabeled Fe (59Fe), Mn (54Mn), and Zn (65Zn), root uptake of 59Fe and 54Mn was significantly reduced in 12 and 24 h after application of 6% of the recommended dosage of glyphosate, respectively. Glyphosate resulted in almost complete inhibition of root-to-shoot translocation of 59Fe within 12 h and 54Mn within 24 h after application. These results suggest that glyphosate residues or drift may result in severe impairments in Fe and Mn nutrition of nontarget plants, possibly due to the formation of poorly soluble glyphosate-metal complexes in plant tissues and/or rhizosphere interactions.

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