Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Weed management options in agronomic crop production have been severely limited by widespread populations of weeds resistant to herbicides, including waterhemp [Amaranthus tuberculatus (Moq.) Sauer (syn. rudis)] resistant to foliar applications of herbicides that inhibit protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO; EC 184.108.40.206) activity (PPO-R). Herbicides within this site of action (WSSA site of action #14) remain efficacious when soil-applied to PPO-R waterhemp populations. Therefore, the continued use of these herbicides for soil-residual control of PPO-R waterhemp, especially in soybean production, is paramount with limited postemergence herbicides that remain effective. An improved understanding of the selection for PPO-R waterhemp would provide information to help minimize future loss of residual PPO-inhibiting herbicide activity. Five studies, consisting of 14 experiments, were conducted to improve our understanding of the selection for herbicide-resistant individuals. Soil-residual herbicides have been suspected to select for herbicide-resistant individuals; however, this phenomenon has never been observed experimentally in field conditions. This dissertation provides direct evidence from greenhouse and field experiments that significant selection pressure can occur from soil-residual herbicides; however, this selection for resistance could be delayed when using full commercial herbicide rates and effective herbicides from multiple sites of action. Also, the frequency of heterozygous individuals (RS) and PPO-inhibiting herbicide efficacy on RS individuals is a factor in the selection for herbicide resistance; however, current information on the these topics is limited. To provide additional information on RS individuals, a large-scale genotypic and phenotypic screen of multiple PPO-R waterhemp populations was conducted. It was determined that RS individuals were less frequent than expected and PPO-inhibiting herbicide efficacy on RS individuals was population-dependent. Finally, the hormetic effects of soil-residual herbicides have been paradoxically implicated as a means of both mitigating and exacerbating the selection for herbicide resistant biotypes; however, limited information was available on the hormetic effects of soil-residual PPO inhibitors. Greenhouse and growth chamber experiments were conducted to improve understanding of hormesis and soil-residual PPO-inhibiting herbicides. Experiments indicated that PPO-inhibiting herbicides may exert a limited hormetic effect on waterhemp germination below doses that cause a phytotoxic effect of the emerging seedling, indicating this effect may exacerbate the issue of selection for PPO-R waterhemp. Overall, data presented in this dissertation provides important information on the under-studied interaction between PPO-inhibiting herbicides and PPO-R waterhemp to safeguard the sustained efficacy of herbicides within this site of action.
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