Skip to main content Accessibility help

Whole-Plant and Seed Bioassays for Resistance Confirmation

  • Nilda R. Burgos (a1)


Much of agriculture-related research today involves weed resistance to herbicides. Resistance evolution is perhaps the strongest driver for the quest for new herbicide targets, novel weed intervention technologies, and the promotion of best management practices for sustainable crop production (Burgos et al., 2006; Norsworthy et al. 2012; Vencill et al. 2012). To date, 222 weedy species collectively have evolved resistance to 150 herbicides representing 21 sites of action (Heap 2014). For decades, scientists have developed numerous protocols for resistance confirmation using seeds, different plant parts, or whole plants. These have been reviewed by Beckie et al. (2000) and Burgos et al. (2013). We draw from these and other sources to present general guidelines for resistance confirmation that students and new researchers can use in planning their experiments. The most immediate questions that stakeholders seek to answer with resistance bioassays include:

  1. 1.Is the population resistant?
  2. 2.What is the level of resistance?
  3. 3.What alternative herbicides can be used?

    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Whole-Plant and Seed Bioassays for Resistance Confirmation
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Whole-Plant and Seed Bioassays for Resistance Confirmation
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Whole-Plant and Seed Bioassays for Resistance Confirmation
      Available formats


This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the same Creative Commons license is included and the original work is properly cited.

Corresponding author

Corresponding author's E-mail:


Hide All
Baldoni, G, Catizone, P, Viggiani, P (2000) Relationship between seed bank and actual weed flora as influenced by soil tillage and chemical control. Ital J Agron 4(1):1122
Ballot, R, Deschomets, G, Gauvrit, C (2009) A quick test for glyphosate resistance in ryegrass. Pages 18 in 13th International Colloquium on Weed Biology. Dion, France AFPP
Beckie, HJ, Heap, IM, Smeda, RJ, Hall, LM (2000) Screening for herbicide resistance in weeds. Weed Technol 14:428445
Bewley, JD, Black, M (1994) Seeds: Physiology of Development and Germination. The Language of Science. New York Plenum Press. 230 p
Bewley, JD, Bradford, K, Hilhorst, H, Nonogaki, H (2012) Seeds: Physiology of Development, Germination, and Dormancy, 3rd edn. New York Springer. 391 p
Bond, JA, Oliver, LR (2006) Comparative growth of Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) accessions. Weed Sci 54:121126
Bourgeois, L, Kenkel, NC, Morrison, IN (1997) Characterization of cross-resistance patterns in acetyl-CoA carboxylase inhibitor resistant wild oat (Avena fatua). Weed Sci 45:750755
Boutsalis, P (2001) Syngenta quick-test: a rapid whole-plant test for herbicide resistance. Weed Technol 15:257263
Breccia, G, Vega, T, Nestares, G, Mayor, ML, Zorzoli, R, Picardi, L (2011) Rapid test for detection of imidazolinone resistance in sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.). Plant Breed 130:109113
Buhler, DD, Hoffman, ML (1999) Andersen's guide to practical methods of propagating weeds and other plants. Lawrence, KS Weed Science Society of America. 248 p
Burgos, NR, Culpepper, S, Dotray, P, Kendig, JA, Wilcut, J, Nichols, R (2006) Managing Herbicide Resistance in Cotton Cropping Systems. Cotton Inc Tech Bull for the Southern U.S. Accessed: January 20, 2014
Burgos, NR, Tranel, PJ, Streibig, JC, Davis, VM, Shaner, D, Norsworthy, JK, Ritz, C (2013) Review: confirmation of resistance to herbicides and evaluation of resistance levels. Weed Sci 61:420
Burke, IC, Thomas, WE, Burton, JD, Spears, JF, Wilcut, JW (2006) A seedling assay to screen aryloxyphenoxypropionic acid and cyclohexanedione resistance in johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense). Weed Technol 20:950955
Cha, TS, Najihah, MG, Sahid, IB, Chuah, TS (2014) Molecular basis for resistance to ACCase-inhibiting fluazifop in Eleusine indica from Malaysia. Pestic Biochem Physiol 111:713
Chandi, A, Milla-Lewis, SR, Jordan, DL, York, AC, Burton, JD, Zuleta, MC, Whitaker, JR, Culpepper, AS (2013) Use of AFLP markers to assess genetic diversity in Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) populations from North Carolina and Georgia. Weed Sci 61:136145
Chauhan, BA, Johnson, DE (2008a) Germination ecology of Chinese sprangletop (Leptochloa chinensis) in the Philippines. Weed Sci 56:820825
Chauhan, BA, Johnson, DE (2008b) Germination ecology of southern crabgrass (Digitaria ciliaris) and India crabgrass (Digitaria longiflora): two important weeds of rice in the tropics. Weed Sci 56:722728
Chauhan, BA, Johnson, DE (2009) Seed germination and seedling emergence of synedrella (Synedrella nodiflora) in a tropical environment. Weed Sci 57:3642
Cirujeda, A, Recasens, J, Taberner, A (2001) A qualitative quick-test for detection of herbicide resistance to tribenuron-methyl in Papaver rhoeas. Weed Res 41:523534
Cutulle, MA, McElroy, JS, Millwood, RW, Sorochan, JC, Stewart, CN Jr. (2009) Selection of bioassay method influences detection of annual bluegrass resistance to mitotic-inhibiting herbicides. Crop Sci 49:10881095
Dayan, FE, Owens, DK, Corniani, N, Silva, FML, Watson, SB, Howell, J, Shaner, DL (2015) Biochemical markers and enzyme assays for herbicide mode of action and resistance studies. Weed Sci 63:2363
Délye, C, Dohoux, A, Pernin, F, Riggins, C, Tranel, P (2015) Molecular mechanisms of weed resistance. Weed Sci 63:91115
Délye, C, Wang, T, Darmency, H (2002) An isoleucine substitution in chloroplastic acetyl-CoA carboxylase from green foxtail (Setaria viridis L. Beauv.) is responsible for resistance to the cyclohexanedione herbicide, sethoxydim. Planta 214:421–227
Dickson, JW, Scott, RC, Burgos, NR, Salas, RA, Smith, KL (2011) Confirmation of glyphosate-resistant Italian ryegrass (Lolium perenne ssp. multiflorum) in Arkansas. Weed Technol 25:674679
Đikić, M, Gadţo, D, Gavrić, T, Šapčanin, S, Podrug, A (2011) Dormancy and weed seed germination. Herbologia 12:150155
Gaines, TA, Wright, AA, Molin, WT, Lorentz, L, Riggins, CW, Tranel, PJ, Beffa, R, Westra, P, Powles, SB (2013) Identification of genetic elements associated with EPSPS gene amplification. PLoS ONE 8:e65819 DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0065819
Gibeaut, DM, Hulett, J, Cramer, GR, Seemann, JR (1997) Maximal biomass of Arabidopsis thaliana using a simple, low maintenance hydroponic method and favorable environmental conditions. Plant Physiol 115:317319
Hausman, NE, Singh, S, Tranel, PJ, Riechers, DE, Kaundun, SS, Polge, ND, Thomas, DA, Hager, AG (2011) Resistance to HPPD-inhibiting herbicides in a population of waterhemp (Amaranthus tuberculatus) from Illinois, United States. Pest Manag Sci 67:258261
Heap, I (2014) The International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds. Accessed January 16, 2014
Hoagland, DR, Arnon, DI (1950) The water-culture method for growing plants without soil. Journal circular. 2nd edn. Calif Agric Exp Stn 347:132
Honek, A, Martinkova, Z (1996) Geographic variation in seed dormancy among populations of Echinochloa crus-galli . Oecologia 108:419423
Huan, Z, Zhang, H, Hou, Z, Zhang, S, Zhang, Y, Liu, W, Bi, Y, Wang, J (2011) Resistance level and metabolism of barnyardgrass (Echinochloa crus-galli L. Beauv.) populations to quizalofop-P-ethyl in Heilongjiang province, China. Agric Sci China 10:19141922
Kaloumenos, NS, Adamouli, VN, Dordas, CA, Eleftherohorinos, IG (2011) Corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas) cross-resistance to ALS-inhibiting herbicides. Pest Manag Sci 67:574585
Karlsson, LM, Ericsson, JAL, Milberg, P (2006) Seed dormancy and germination in the summer annual Galeopsis speciosa . Weed Res 46:353361
Kaundun, SS, Hutchings, H-J, Dale, RP, Bailly, GC, Glanfield, P (2011) Syngenta ‘RISQ’ test: a novel in-season method for detecting resistance to post-emergence ACCase and ALS inhibitor herbicides in grass weeds. Weed Res 51:284293
Kim, DS, Brain, P, Marshall, EJP, Caseley, JC (2002) Modeling herbicide dose and weed density effects on crop:weed competition. Weed Res 42(1):113
Kim, DS, Riches, CR, Valverde, BE (2000) Rapid detection of propanil and fenoxaprop resistance in Echinochloa colona . Weed Sci 48:695700
Kovach, DA, Widrlechner, MP, Brenner, DM (2010) Variation in seed dormancy in Echinochloa and the development of a standard protocol for testing. Seed Sci and Technol 38:559571
Lati, RN, Filin, S, Eizenberg, H (2012) Effect of tuber density and trifloxysulfuron application timing on purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus) control. Weed Sci 60:494500
Legleiter, TR, Bradley, KW (2008) Glyphosate and multiple herbicide resistance in common waterhemp (Amaranthus rudis) populations from Missouri. Weed Sci 56:582587
Letouze', A, Gasquez, J (2000) A pollen test to detect ACCase target-site resistance within Alopecurus myosuroides populations. Weed Res 40:151162
Maneechote, C, Samanwong, S, Zhang, XQ, Powles, SB (2005) Resistance to ACCase-inhibiting herbicides in sprangletop (Leptochloa chinensis). Weed Sci 53:290295
Martinkova, Z, Lukas, J, Honek, A (2006) Seed age and storage conditions influence germination of barnyardgrass (Echinochloa crus-galli). Weed Sci 54(2):298304
Monsanto. 2014. BioDirect™ Technology: An Agricultural Biological Platform. Accessed September 9, 2014
Moss, S (1999) Detecting herbicide resistance: guidelines for conducting diagnostic tests and interpreting results. Herbicide Resistance Action Committee (HRAC). Accessed January 20, 2014
Nei, M (1973) Analysis of gene diversity in subdivided populations. PNAS 70:33213323
Nkoa, R, Owen, MDK, Swanton, CJ (2015) Weed abundance, distribution, diversity, and community analyses. Weed Sci 63:6490
Norsworthy, JK, Ward, SM, Shaw, DR, Llewellyn, RS, Nichols, RL, Webster, TM, Bradley, KW, Frisvold, G, Powles, SB, Burgos, NR, Witt, WW, Barrett, M (2012) Reducing the risks of herbicide resistance: best management practices and recommendations. Weed Sci 60:3162
Oveisi, M, Mashhadi, HR, Baghestani, MA, Alizadeh, H, Andujar, JL (2010) Modeling herbicide dose effect and multiple weed species interference in corn. Pages 548551 in Proceedings of the 3rd Iranian Weed Science Congress. Volume 1: Weed Biology and Ecophysiology. Babolsar, Iran Iranian Society of Weed Science
Owen, MJ, Goggin, DE, Powles, SB (2012) Non-target-site-based resistance to ALS-inhibiting herbicides in six Bromus rigidus populations from western Australian cropping fields. Pest Manag Sci 68:10771082
Patzoldt, WL, Tranel, PJ, Hager, AG (2005) A waterhemp (Amaranthus tuberculatus) biotype with multiple resistance across three herbicide sites of action. Weed Sci 53:3036
Resh, HM (2012) Hydroponic Food Production: A Definitive Guidebook for the Advanced Home Gardener and the Commercial Hydroponic Grower. 7th edn. New York CRC Press. 524 p
Ritz, C, Kniss, AR, Streibig, JC (2015) Statistics in weed science. Weed Sci 63:166187
Salas, RA, Dayan, FE, Pan, Z, Watson, SB, Dickson, JW, Scott, RC, Burgos, NR (2012) EPSPS gene amplification in glyphosate-resistant Italian ryegrass (Lolium perenne ssp. multiflorum) from Arkansas. Pest Manag Sci 68:12231230
Sales, MA, Burgos, NR, Shivrain, VK, Murphy, B, Gbur, EE Jr. (2011) Morphological and physiological responses of weedy red rice (Oryza sativa L.) and cultivated rice (O. sativa) to N supply. Am J Plant Sci 2:569577
Simpson, GM (1990) Seed Dormancy in Grasses. New York Cambridge University Press. 297 p
Terrell, EE (1968) A Taxonomic Revision of the Genus Lolium Washington, DC U.S. Government Printing Office, U.S. Department of Agriculture Technical Bull. 1392. 2 p
Tseng, TM, Burgos, NR, Shivrain, VK, Alcober, EA, Mauromoustakos, A (2013) Inter- and intrapopulation variation in dormancy of Oryza sativa (weedy red rice) and allelic variation in dormancy-linked loci. Weed Res 53:440451
Veihmeyer, FJ, Hendrickson, AH (1931) The moisture equivalent as a measure of the field capacity of soils. Soil Sci 32:181193
Vencill, WK, Nichols, RL, Webster, TM, Soteres, JK, Mallory-Smith, C, Burgos, NR, Johnson, WG, McClelland, MR (2012) Herbicide resistance: toward an understanding of resistance development and the impact of herbicide-resistant crops. Weed Sci 60:230
Walsh, MJ. Duane, RD, Powles, SB (2001) High frequency of chlorsulfuron-resistant wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum L.) populations across the western Australian wheatbelt. Weed Technol 15:199203
Wise, AM, Grey, TL, Prostko, EP, Vencill, WK, Webster, TM (2009) Establishing the geographical distribution and level of acetolactate synthase resistance of Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) accessions in Georgia. Weed Technol 23:214220
Xu, X, Wang, GQ, Chen, SL, Fan, CQ, Li, BH (2010) Confirmation of flixweed (Descurainia sophia) resistance to tribenuron-methyl using three different assay methods. Weed Sci 58:5660
Yu, Q, Powles, SB (2014) Resistance to AHAS inhibitor herbicides: current understanding. Pest Manag Sci 70:13401350 DOI: 10.1002/ps.3710
Zheng, D, Kruger, GR, Singh, S, Davis, VM, Tranel, PJ, Wellerd, SC, Johnson, WG (2011) Cross-resistance of horseweed (Conyza canadensis) populations with three different ALS mutations. Pest Manag Sci 67:14861492


Whole-Plant and Seed Bioassays for Resistance Confirmation

  • Nilda R. Burgos (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed