Climate change increases the risk of herbicide-resistant weeds due to enhanced detoxification

Maor Matzrafi, Bettina Seiwert, Thorsten Reemtsma, Baruch Rubin, Zvi Peleg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Main conclusion: Global warming will increase the incidence of metabolism-based reduced herbicide efficacy on weeds and, therefore, the risk for evolution of non-target site herbicide resistance. Climate changes affect food security both directly and indirectly. Weeds are the major biotic factor limiting crop production worldwide, and herbicides are the most cost-effective way for weed management. Processes associated with climatic changes, such as elevated temperatures, can strongly affect weed control efficiency. Responses of several grass weed populations to herbicides that inhibit acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACCase) were examined under different temperature regimes. We characterized the mechanism of temperature-dependent sensitivity and the kinetics of pinoxaden detoxification. The products of pinoxaden detoxification were quantified. Decreased sensitivity to ACCase inhibitors was observed under elevated temperatures. Pre-treatment with the cytochrome-P450 inhibitor malathion supports a non-target site metabolism-based mechanism of herbicide resistance. The first 48 h after herbicide application were crucial for pinoxaden detoxification. The levels of the inactive glucose-conjugated pinoxaden product (M5) were found significantly higher under high- than low-temperature regime. Under high temperature, a rapid elevation in the level of the intermediate metabolite (M4) was found only in pinoxaden-resistant plants. Our results highlight the quantitative nature of non-target-site resistance. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first experimental evidence for temperature-dependent herbicide sensitivity based on metabolic detoxification. These findings suggest an increased risk for the evolution of herbicide-resistant weeds under predicted climatic conditions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1217-1227
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Grant Nos. 837-0150-14 and 12-02-0023) and ADAMA Agricultural Solutions. The authors would like to thank M. Sibony, Z Kleinman, T. Kliper, and L. Shaar-Moshe for their assistance with the experiments. The authors would also like to thank Dr. Shiv S. Kaundun (Syngenta) for providing technical-grade pinoxaden. We are also thankful for the insightful comments provided by the anonymous reviewers.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Diclofop-methyl
  • Global warming
  • Herbicide metabolism
  • Non-target-site resistance
  • Temperature-dependent sensitivity
  • Weed management


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