Differential responses to preemergence and postemergence atrazine in two atrazine-resistant waterhemp populations

Rong Ma, Anton F. Evans, Dean E. Riechers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Waterhemp [Amaranthus tuberculatus (Moq) Sauer] is a difficult-tocontrol dicot weed in the United States. Atrazine [6-chloro-N-ethyl- N’-(1-methylethyl)-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine] is commonly used for preemergence (PRE) and postemergence (POST) waterhemp control in maize (Zea mays L.). Previous research reported that atrazine metabolism via glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity contributes to atrazine POST resistance in two waterhemp populations from Illinois, designated MCR (McLean County, Illinois, resistant) and ACR (Adams County, Illinois, resistant). Objectives were to quantify responses of these populations to atrazine PRE and determine if the combination of a GST inhibitor and atrazine PRE or POST increases their control. Dose-response analyses indicated MCR was resistant to atrazine PRE relative to ACR or WCS (Wayne County sensitive; herbicide-sensitive population), despite MCR and ACR exhibiting equivalent levels of atrazine resistance POST. The ACR response to atrazine PRE (LD50) was intermediate compared with MCR and WCS. Seedling survival of ACR was reduced by 4-chloro- 7-nitrobenzofurazan (NDB-Cl; a GST inhibitor) and atrazine PRE more than atrazine PRE alone, but not in MCR. Atrazine following NBD-Cl applied POST inhibited seedling growth in ACR, but not in MCR. Enhanced atrazine activity with NBD-Cl further supports rapid metabolism via GSTs as the main atrazine-resistance mechanism in ACR. GST(s) that metabolize atrazine in MCR may not have been completely inhibited by NBD-Cl, indicating that similar yet distinct atrazine-resistance mechanisms exist in MCR compared to ACR. In conclusion, atrazine PRE (with or without NBD-Cl) still controls ACR when applied at typical field-use rates in maize, but the length of residual activity may be shorter than in sensitive populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1196-1202
Number of pages7
JournalAgronomy Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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