Morpho-Physiological Characterization of Glyphosate-Resistant and -Susceptible Horseweed (Conyza canadensis) Biotypes of US Midsouth


Horseweed is traditionally considered a non-cropland weed. However, populations resistant to glyphosate have eventually become established in no-till agronomic cropping systems. Growth chamber and greenhouse experiments were conducted to compare selected biological and physiological parameters of glyphosate-resistant (GR) and -susceptible (GS) horseweed biotypes from Mississippi with a broader goal of fitness characterization in these biotypes. Vegetative growth parameters (number of leaves, rosette diameter and area, shoot and root fresh weights) were recorded weekly from 5 to 11 wk after emergence and reproductive attributes [days to bolting (production of a flowering stalk) and flowering] and senescence were measured for both GR and GS biotypes under high (24°C/20°C) and low (18°C/12°C) temperature regimes, both with a 13-h light period. Physiological traits such as net photosynthesis, phenolic content, and cell membrane thermostability, all in the presence and absence of glyphosate, and leaf content of divalent cations such as Ca2+ and Mg2+ were assayed in the two biotypes under the high temperature regime. All horseweed vegetative growth parameters except root fresh weight were higher in the high temperature regime compared to that in low temperature regime in both biotypes. Number of leaves, rosette diameter and area, shoot and root fresh weight were 40 vs. 35, 9.3 vs. 8.7 cm, 51 vs. 43 cm2, 3.7 vs. 3.2 g, and 3.5 vs. 4.2 g under high and low temperature conditions, respectively, when averaged across biotypes and weekly measurements. All growth parameters listed above were higher for the GR biotype compared to the GS biotype. Number of leaves, rosette diameter and area, shoot and root fresh weight were 38 vs. 37, 9.1 vs. 8.9 cm, 50.2 vs. 44 cm2, 3.9 vs. 3.1 g, and 4.3 vs. 3.5 g for GR and GS biotypes, respectively, averaged across the temperature treatments and weekly measurements. Reproductive developmental data of these biotypes indicated that the GS biotype bolted earlier than the GR biotype. The GS biotype had more phenolic content and exhibited higher cell membrane thermostability, but less net photosynthetic rate compared to the GR biotype. At 48 h after treatment with glyphosate, there was no change in phenolic content of both GR and GS biotypes. However, glyphosate reduced cell membrane thermostability and net photosynthetic rate more in the GS biotype than that in the GR biotype. Chemical analysis of GR and GS leaf tissue did not reveal any differences in levels of divalent cations such as Ca2+ and Mg2+. Further studies are needed to determine if some of the differences between the two biotypes observed above relate to fitness variation in a natural environment.

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Nandula, V. , Poston, D. , Koger, C. , Reddy, K. and Reddy, K. (2015) Morpho-Physiological Characterization of Glyphosate-Resistant and -Susceptible Horseweed (Conyza canadensis) Biotypes of US Midsouth. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 6, 47-56. doi: 10.4236/ajps.2015.61006.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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