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Rapid Assay Evaluation of Plant Response to Protoporphyrinogen Oxidase (Protox)-Inhibiting Herbicides

  • Jeanne S. Falk (a1), Kassim Al-Khatib (a1) and Dallas E. Peterson (a1)


Protoporphyrinogen oxidase (protox)-inhibiting herbicides damage cell membranes, resulting in electrolyte leakage. A whole-plant dose-response study and a rapid assay that measured electrolyte leakage was used to determine the response of wild mustard, soybean, and protox inhibitor–susceptible and protox inhibitor–resistant common waterhemp to increasing doses of three protox inhibitors: acifluorfen, fomesafen, and sulfentrazone. For the dose-response study, whole plants were treated with the three protox-inhibitor herbicides. Electroconductivity assay 1 consisted of cutting discs from leaf tissue and submerging them in an incubation medium containing concentrations of acifluorfen, fomesafen, or sulfentrazone. In electroconductivity assay 2, the entire leaf was treated with solutions containing acifluorfen, fomesafen, or sulfentrazone. The whole-plant dose-response study showed increasing visible injury with increasing herbicide rates for all species and all herbicides. The order of visible injury was wild mustard > susceptible common waterhemp > resistant common waterhemp > soybean. In assay 1, electrolyte leakage from leaf discs treated with acifluorfen or fomesafen increased with increasing herbicide concentrations, and was similar for all species. In contrast, electrolyte leakage from leaf discs treated with sulfentrazone did not increase with increasing herbicide concentrations for any species. In assay 2, only wild mustard leaf discs increased in electrolyte leakage with increasing herbicide rates of acifluorfen, fomesafen, and sulfentrazone and followed the regression curves established by the whole-plant dose-response study. However, assay 2 was not able to distinguish between susceptible wild mustard and tolerant soybean, or between susceptible and resistant waterhemp.


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