Comparing responses of sensitive and resistant populations of Palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) and waterhemp (Amaranthus tuberculatus var. rudis) to PPO inhibitors

Kathryn J. Lillie, Darci A. Giacomini, Patrick J. Tranel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Resistance to protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) inhibitors was first observed in waterhemp in 2001 and was conferred by the deletion of a glycine residue at the 210th position (ΔGly-210) of the PPO enzyme. PPO-inhibitor resistance in Palmer amaranth was first observed in 2011, 10 years later. The objectives of this study were to directly compare PPO inhibitor responses in plants of both species with or without the ΔGly-210 mutation. Using greenhouse experiments, early (EPOST) and late (LPOST) postemergence dose responses using lactofen and fomesafen, and preemergence (PRE) dose responses using fomesafen and flumioxazin, were obtained for a sensitive and resistant population each of waterhemp and Palmer amaranth. An additional spray study confirmed each sensitive population used in the dose responses was representative of its respective species, with regards to PPO-inhibitor sensitivity. When treated at either POST timing, Palmer amaranth was more tolerant than waterhemp, and the ΔGly-210 mutation provided greater resistance in Palmer amaranth (48-fold to >3,440-fold, depending on timing and herbicide) than in waterhemp (31-fold to 123-fold). The level of tolerance in Palmer amaranth was striking; the sensitive Palmer amaranth population treated LPOST survived as well or better than the resistant waterhemp population treated EPOST. With PRE applications, response differences both between species and between resistant and sensitive populations generally were less pronounced, relative to POST applications. Collectively, this research indicates Palmer amaranth tolerance to POST-applied PPO inhibitors could have initially slowed (relative to waterhemp) evolution of resistance to these herbicides, and resistant and sensitive populations of both species are more likely to be effectively controlled with PRE rather than POST applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-146
Number of pages7
JournalWeed Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


  • dose response
  • herbicide resistance
  • postemergence
  • preemergence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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