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Behavior of Dinitroaniline Herbicides in Plants

  • Arnold P. Appleby (a1) and Bernal E. Valverde (a1)

Abstract

Dinitroaniline herbicides are absorbed readily by roots and emerging shoots, but shoot exposure is more phytotoxic. Translocation within the plant varies by specific herbicide but commonly is minor. Dinitroaniline herbicides injure plants by binding to tubulin, a dimer protein in the ceil that polymerizes to form microtubules (MTs). MTs form the major part of the mitotic apparatus, including spindle fibers, which enable chromosomes to separate during cell division. Dinitroaniline herbicides prevent tubulin from polymerizing into MTs, thus arresting mitosis. This leads to abnormal cells with more than the normal complement of chromosomes and, frequently, lobed nuclei. MTs also are responsible for orienting cell wall microfibrils in such a way that they prevent lateral enlargement of cells. Treatment with dinitroaniline herbicides leads to disorientation of the microfibrils, leading to one of the common symptoms—spherical cells instead of rectangular ones. Studies on the metabolism of trifluralin in plants have shown that amination, dealkylation, and cyclization all can occur. However, metabolites often amount to a small percentage of the original herbicide. In general, trifluralin seems quite stable within the plant.

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