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A comparative investigation of the metabolism of the herbicide glufosinate in cell cultures of transgenic glufosinate-resistant and non-transgenic oilseed rape (Brassica napus) and corn (Zea mays)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 October 2002

Monika Ruhland
Bayerisches Landesamt für Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit, Außenstelle München, Menzinger Straße 54, 80638 München, Germany
Gabriele Engelhardt
Bayerisches Landesamt für Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit, Außenstelle München, Menzinger Straße 54, 80638 München, Germany
Karlheinz Pawlizki
Bayerische Landesanstalt für Bodenkultur und Pflanzenbau, Menzinger Straße 54, 80638 München, Germany


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To obtain information on differences between the metabolic pathways of the herbicide glufosinate (trade names: BASTA®, LIBERTY®) in non-transgenic, glufosinate-sensitive plants and in transgenic, glufosinate-resistant plants, the metabolism of 14C-labeled glufosinate and its enantiomers L- and D-glufosinate was studied using cell cultures of oilseed rape and corn. Transformation of glufosinate in both sensitive and transgenic rape cells remained at a low rate of about 3-10% in contrast to corn cells, where 20% was transformed in sensitive and 43% in transgenic cells after 14 days of incubation, the rest remaining as unchanged glufosinate. In sensitive rape and corn cells the main metabolite was 4-methylphosphinico-2-oxo-butanoic acid (PPO) with 7.3 and 16.4%, respectively, together with low amounts of 3-methylphosphinicopropionic acid (MPP), 4-methylphosphinico-2-hydroxybutanoic acid (MHB), 4-methylphosphinicobutanoic acid (MPB) and 2-methylphosphinicoacetic acid (MPA). An additional metabolite formed in transgenic cell cultures was 2-acetamido-4-methylbutanoic acid (N-acetyl-L-glufosinate, NGA), which was formed at rates of 3.2% in rape and 16.1% in corn. A further minor metabolite, not yet identified, was detected in both cell types. The liberation of 0.2% 14CO2 indicates further metabolic steps prior to a limited mineralization in plant cell cultures. L-glufosinate was transformed into the same metabolites as the glufosinate racemate. D-glufosinate was not metabolized.

Research Article
© ISBR, EDP Sciences, 2002


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