Bioassay and Characterization of Several Palmer Amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) Biotypes with Varying Tolerances to Glyphosate


The wide distribution of Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) in the southern US became a serious weed control problem prior to the extensive use of glyphosate-resistant crops. Currently glyphosate-resistant populations of Palmer amaranth occur in many areas of this geographic region creating an even more serious threat to crop production. Investigations were undertaken using four biotypes (one glyphosate-sensitive, one resistant from Georgia and two of unknown tolerance from Mississippi) of Palmer amaranth to assess bioassay techniques for the rapid detection and level of resistance in populations of this weed. These plants were characterized with respect to chlorophyll, betalain, and protein levels and immunological responses to an antibody of 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) the target site of glyphosate. Only slight differences were found in four biotypes grown under greenhouse conditions regarding extractable soluble protein and chlorophyll content, but one biotype was found to be devoid of the red pigment, betalain. Measurement of early growth (seedling shoot elongation) of seedlings was a useful detection tool to determine glyphosate resistance. A leaf disc bioassay (using visual ratings and/or chlorophyll analysis) and an assay for shikimate accumulation were effective methods for determining herbicide resistance levels. The two unknown biotypes were found to be resistant to this herbicide. Some differences were found in the protein profiles of the biotypes, and western blots demonstrated a weak labeling of antibody in the glyphosate-sensitive biotype, whereas strong labeling occurred in the resistant plants. This latter point supports research by others, that increased copy number of the EPSPS gene (and increased EPSPS protein levels) is the resistance mechanism in this species. Results indicate the utility of certain bioassays for the determination of resistance and provide useful comparative information on the levels of inherent constituents among closely related plants.

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R. Hoagland, R. Jordan and N. Teaster, "Bioassay and Characterization of Several Palmer Amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) Biotypes with Varying Tolerances to Glyphosate," American Journal of Plant Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 5, 2013, pp. 1029-1037. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2013.45127.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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