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J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Jun 8;59(11):5835-41. doi: 10.1021/jf102704x. Epub 2010 Oct 4.

Glyphosate degradation in glyphosate-resistant and -susceptible crops and weeds.

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NPURU, ARS, U.S. Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 8048, University, Mississippi 38677, USA.


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. This is unexpected, considering the extreme selection pressure for evolution of glyphosate resistance in weeds and the difficulty in plants of evolving glyphosate resistance via other mechanisms.

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