Weed Science

Published by: Weed Science Society of America



Weed Science 48(1):89-93. 2000
doi: 10.1614/0043-1745(2000)048[0089:EOGOSM]2.0.CO;2

Effect of glyphosate on soil microbial activity and biomass

R. L. Haneya, S. A. Sensemanb, F. M. Honsb, and D. A. Zubererb

aCorresponding author. Department of Soil & Crop Sciences, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2474;

bDepartment of Soil & Crop Sciences, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2474

Abstract

Herbicides applied to soils potentially affect soil microbial activity. Quantity and frequency of glyphosate application have escalated with the advent of glyphosate-tolerant crops. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of increasing glyphosate application rate on soil microbial biomass and activity. The soil used was Weswood silt loam. The isopropylamine salt of glyphosate was added at rates of 47, 94, 140, and 234 µg ai g−1 soil based on an assumed 2-mm glyphosate–soil interaction depth. Glyphosate significantly stimulated soil microbial activity as measured by C and N mineralization but did not affect soil microbial biomass. Cumulative C mineralization, as well as mineralization rate, increased with increasing glyphosate rate. Strong linear relationships between mineralized C and N and the amount of C and N added as glyphosate (r2 = 0.995, 0.996) and slopes approximating one indicated that glyphosate was the direct cause of the enhanced microbial activity. An increase in C mineralization rate occurred the first day following glyphosate addition and continued for 14 d. Glyphosate appeared to be directly and rapidly degraded by microbes, even at high application rates, without adversely affecting microbial activity.

Nomenclature: Glyphosate; Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench., sorghum.

Received: July 13, 1999; Accepted: November 15, 1999


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Figure 1. Effect of glyphosate rate on (a) carbon mineralization and (b) nitrogen mineralization from soil after 56 d of incubation. The 1, 2, 3, and 5× represent glyphosate addition rates of 47, 94, 140, and 234 µg ai g−1 soil, respectively. Error bars indicate one standard deviation

Figure 2. Effect of glyphosate addition rate on soil carbon mineralization. Carbon mineralized from basal microbial respiration in control samples has been subtracted. The 1, 2, 3, and 5× represent glyphosate addition rates of 47, 94, 140, and 234 µg ai g−1 soil, respectively. Error bars indicate one standard deviation

Figure 3. Relationship of nitrogen added from glyphosate and nitrogen mineralized from soil in 56 d following glyphosate addition. Controls have been subtracted. Error bars indicate one standard deviation

Figure 4. Relationship of carbon added from glyphosate and carbon mineralized from soil in 56 d following glyphosate addition. Controls have been subtracted. Error bars indicate one standard deviation

Figure 5. Relationship of carbon and nitrogen mineralized from soil in 56 d following glyphosate addition. Error bars indicate one standard deviation

Figure 6. The effect of glyphosate rate on N mineralization at 28 and 56 d of incubation

Figure 7. Effect of glyphosate addition rate on (a) soil microbial biomass C and (b) soil microbial biomass N 3 d after addition of glyphosate. NS indicates nonsignificance at P < 0.05

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