Alteration of plant physiology by glyphosate and its by-product aminomethylphosphonic acid: an overview

Marcelo P Gomes, Elise Smedbol, Annie Chalifour, Louise Hénault-Ethier, Michel Labrecque, Laurent Lepage, Marc Lucotte, Philippe Juneau
Journal of Experimental Botany 2014, 65 (17): 4691-703
It is generally claimed that glyphosate kills undesired plants by affecting the 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) enzyme, disturbing the shikimate pathway. However, the mechanisms leading to plant death may also be related to secondary or indirect effects of glyphosate on plant physiology. Moreover, some plants can metabolize glyphosate to aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) or be exposed to AMPA from different environmental matrices. AMPA is a recognized phytotoxin, and its co-occurrence with glyphosate could modify the effects of glyphosate on plant physiology. The present review provides an overall picture of alterations of plant physiology caused by environmental exposure to glyphosate and its metabolite AMPA, and summarizes their effects on several physiological processes. It particularly focuses on photosynthesis, from photochemical events to C assimilation and translocation, as well as oxidative stress. The effects of glyphosate and AMPA on several plant physiological processes have been linked, with the aim of better understanding their phytotoxicity and glyphosate herbicidal effects.

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