September 16, 2013
A USDA Agricultural Research Service scientist is working with Monsanto to develop a kit that growers could use to determine whether weeds in their fields are glyphosate resistant. One key to addressing the threat posed by glyphosate resistance is early detection. If a resistant weed is detected early, alternative control methods can be employed to prevent resistance spread.
Scientists can determine whether a weed will resist glyphosate by measuring the amount of a compound, shikimate, in its tissues. Glyphosate kills weeds by interfering with production of aromatic amino acids through the “shikimate pathway.” Glyphosate disrupts this pathway causing shikimate to accumulate. Plants susceptible to glyphosate will have high levels of shikimate while resistant plants will not.
Existing methods for detecting shikimate in plants require sophisticated laboratory equipment and test results can take weeks. This new method, which uses a dye that changes color, can be completed in just 24 hours.
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