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Distribution and metabolism of D/L-, L- and D-glufosinate in transgenic, glufosinate-tolerant crops of maize (Zea mays L ssp mays) and oilseed rape (Brassica napus L var napus)

Ruhland, M., Engelhardt, G., Pawlizki, K.
Pest management science 2004 v.60 no.7 pp. 691-696
Zea mays, corn, Brassica napus var. napus, canola, glufosinate, herbicide resistance, transgenic plants, metabolism, herbicide residues, metabolites, quantitative analysis, varieties, genetic variation
The aim of the present study was to determine whether post-emergence application of glufosinate to transgenic crops could lead to an increase in residues or to the formation of new, hitherto unknown metabolites. Transgenic oilseed rape and maize plants were treated separately with L-glufosinate, D-glufosinate or the racemic mixture. Whereas about 90% of the applied D-glufosinate was washed off by rain and only 5-6% was metabolised, 13-35% of the applied L-glufosinate remained in the form of metabolites and unchanged herbicide in both transgenic maize and oilseed rape. The main metabolite was N-acetyl-L-glufosinate with total residues of 91% in oilseed rape and 67% in maize, together with small amounts, of 5% in oilseed rape and 28% in maize, of different methylphosphinyl fatty acids. These metabolites were probably formed from L-glufosinate by deamination and subsequent decarboxylation. The residues were distributed in all fractions of the plants, with the highest contents in treated leaves and the lowest in the grains (0.07-0.3% in maize and 0.4-0.6% in oilseed rape). There was no indication of an accumulation of total residues or of residue levels above the official tolerances for glufosinate.