Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A new way to control 'superweeds': Two bacterial enzymes confer resistance to common herbicide

Date:
January 24, 2011
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
They pop up in farm fields across 22 states, and they've been called the single largest threat to production agriculture that farmers have ever seen. They are "superweeds" -- undesirable plants that can tolerate multiple herbicides -- and they cost time and money because the only real solution is for farmers to plow them out of the field before they suffocate corn, soybeans or cotton. Researchers may now have a new weapon on the horizon to eliminate superweeds.

They pop up in farm fields across 22 states, and they've been called the single largest threat to production agriculture that farmers have ever seen. They are "superweeds" -- undesirable plants that can tolerate multiple herbicides, including the popular gylphosate, also known as RoundUp -- and they cost time and money because the only real solution is for farmers to plow them out of the field before they suffocate corn, soybeans or cotton.

Related Articles


In an article in the Nov. 23 issue of the journal The

Proceedings of the National Academy of Science

, researchers with Dow AgroSciences and the University of Missouri report on two bacterial enzymes that, when transformed into corn and soybeans, provide robust resistance to the herbicide 2,4-D. The discovery may soon provide Missouri corn and soybean growers a solution to the growing problem of herbicide-resistant weeds.

The spread of herbicide resistance has become an increasing concern for growers because undesired plants, such as Palmer amaranth and tall waterhemp in Missouri, are becoming tolerant to the broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate, better known as Roundup.

Glyphosate is commonly used for controlling weeds in fields of Roundup Ready corn and soybean hybrids.

An herbicide commonly used to control lawn dandelions, 2,4-D, may be a new option on the horizon for growers who urgently need an alternative to glyphosate, said Zhanyuan Zhang, research associate professor of plant sciences at the University of Missouri. Zhang, director of MU's Plant Transformation Core facility, teamed up with research scientists at Dow AgroSciences, LLC, to engineer soybean plants resistant to 2,4-D.

Using a bioinformatic approach to mine a genetic database, the researchers pinpointed two bacterial enzymes - AAD-1 and AAD-12 - that break down 2,4-D. These enzymes were similar to a third bacterial enzyme that confers resistance to 2,4-D in transgenic cotton. When the new enzymes were inserted into the genome of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, the resulting plants showed little to no visible signs of damage when treated with 2,4-D. Plants with only the AAD-12 enzyme also survived applications of two other broadleaf herbicides, triclopyr and fluroxypr.

The herbicide protection of these enzymes was subsequently tested in corn and soybeans. Using robust transformation methods, the corn plant was engineered to produce the enzyme AAD-1, and the soybean plant engineered to produce the enzyme AAD-12.

The resulting plants were then subjected to herbicide treatment under greenhouse and field conditions at several locations and through multiple generations. Under all conditions, the plants exhibited excellent resistance to 2,4-D, even when applied at higher than normal levels. The corn plants exhibited none of the injuries commonly associated with treatment with 2,4-D, such as root malformations, and also were resistant to two grass herbicides. No negative effects on yield or other agronomic traits were observed in the transgenic corn or soybean plants.

Other advantages of 2,4-D include low cost, short environmental persistence, and low toxicity to humans and wildlife.

"Unlike glyphosate, which targets amino acid synthesis, 2,4-D is a hormone regulator. Because it has a different mode of action, 2,4-D is an ideal herbicide to deal with glyphosate-resistant weeds," said Zhang, who carried out the soybean transformation and contributed to some data analysis for the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T. R. Wright, G. Shan, T. A. Walsh, J. M. Lira, C. Cui, P. Song, M. Zhuang, N. L. Arnold, G. Lin, K. Yau, S. M. Russell, R. M. Cicchillo, M. A. Peterson, D. M. Simpson, N. Zhou, J. Ponsamuel, Z. Zhang. Robust crop resistance to broadleaf and grass herbicides provided by aryloxyalkanoate dioxygenase transgenes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; 107 (47): 20240 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1013154107

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "A new way to control 'superweeds': Two bacterial enzymes confer resistance to common herbicide." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110121202200.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2011, January 24). A new way to control 'superweeds': Two bacterial enzymes confer resistance to common herbicide. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110121202200.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "A new way to control 'superweeds': Two bacterial enzymes confer resistance to common herbicide." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110121202200.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) Learn how to make a mixed green salad topped with a pan-seared camembert cheese in only a minute! Music: Courtesy of Audio Network. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) It looks like this 2-month-old Husky puppy and the family ferret are going to be the best of friends. Look at how much fun they&apos;re having together! Credit to &apos;Vira&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Buzz60 (Jan. 26, 2015) Swiss scientists build a new drone that can both fly and walk, modeling it after the movements of common vampire bats. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins