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Herbicidal actions of root-applied glufosinate ammonium on tomato plants

, : Herbicidal actions of root-applied glufosinate ammonium on tomato plants. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science 127(2): 200-204

The herbicidal action of foliar applications of glufosinate-ammonium (GLA) is due to toxic accumulation of unassimilated NH4(+) in leaves; however, the effects of root-applied GLA on NH4(+) accumulation and plant growth are unknown. In a dose-response hydroponics experiment, tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) plants were grown in nitrate-based solutions with GLA added at 0, 6, 12, 25, or 50 mg(.)L-1. To observe plant responses to an exogenous NH4(+) source with herbicide-induced responses, plants were grown in an NH4(+)-based solution without GLA addition. At 6 days after treatment (DAT), GLA in solution at 25 mg(.)L-1 produced partial leaf wilting, chlorosis, and necrosis of foliage, and at 50 mg(.)L-1, plants were fully wilted and necrotic. Ammonium (NH4(+)-N) concentration in shoots at 6 DAT increased from 0 to 6 mg(.)g-1 fresh weight with increasing GLA in the nutrient solution. Ethylene evolution doubled (from 4 to 8 nL(.)g-1(.)h-1, fresh weight) with increases in GLA from 0 to 25 mg(.)L-1 but declined with apparent plant death with GLA at 50 mg(.)L-1. Other treatments, including NH4(+) nutrition, did not induce toxicity symptoms in leaves or give increases in NH4(+) accumulation or ethylene evolution during the 6 days of the experiment. In a time-course experiment, tomato plants treated with GLA at 25 mg(.)L-1 were chlorotic at 4 DAT. Ethylene evolution (fresh weight basis) rose from an initial rate of 2.6 nL(.)g-1(.)h-1 to 8.3 nL(.)g-1(.)h-1 after 4 days. At 9 DAT, all plants receiving this treatment died. In the time-course experiment, an exogenous NH4(+) treatment caused a slight inhibition in shoot fresh weight relative to NO3(-) nutrition with no GLA but caused no visible symptoms and only slight enhancements in NH4(+) accumulation and ethylene evolution over the 9-day period. Following GLA treatment, NH4(+) accumulated in the shoots and increased sharply with time, whereas exogenous NH4(+) led to NH4(+) accumulation primarily in roots. Results suggest that GLA was absorbed by roots and translocated to shoots, where it initiated accumulation of NH4(+) and ethylene evolution as indications of herbicidal action.


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