Tolerance and accumulation of shikimic acid in response to glyphosate applications in glyphosate-resistant and nonglyphosate-resistant cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.)

J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Jan 30;50(3):506-12. doi: 10.1021/jf0110699.


Measurement of shikimic acid accumulation in response to glyphosate inhibition of 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase is a rapid and accurate assay to quantify glyphosate-induced damage in sensitive plants. Two methods of assaying shikimic acid, a spectrophotometric and a high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method, were compared for their accuracy of recovering known amounts of shikimic acid spiked into plant samples. The HPLC method recovered essentially 100% of shikimic acid as compared with only 73% using the spectrophotometric method. Relative sensitivity to glyphosate was measured in glyphosate-resistant (GR) and non-GR cotton leaves, fruiting branches, and squares (floral buds) by assaying shikimic acid. Accumulation of shikimic acid was not observed in any tissue, either GR or non-GR, at rates of 5 mM glyphosate or less applied to leaves. All tissues of non-GR plants accumulated shikimic acid in response to glyphosate treatment; however, only fruiting branches and squares of GR plants accumulated a slight amount of shikimic acid. In non-GR cotton, fruiting branches and squares accumulated 18 and 11 times, respectively, more shikimic acid per micromolar of translocated glyphosate than leaf tissue, suggesting increased sensitivity to glyphosate of reproductive tissue over vegetative tissue. GR cotton leaves treated with 80 mM of glyphosate accumulated 57 times less shikimic acid per micromolar of translocated glyphosate than non-GR cotton but only 12.4- and 4-fold less in fruiting branches and squares, respectively. The increased sensitivity of reproductive structures to glyphosate inhibition may be due to a higher demand for shikimate pathway products and may provide an explanation for reports of fruit abortion from glyphosate-treated GR cotton.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3-Phosphoshikimate 1-Carboxyvinyltransferase
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Drug Resistance
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Glycine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glycine / metabolism
  • Glycine / pharmacology*
  • Gossypium / drug effects*
  • Gossypium / enzymology
  • Herbicides / metabolism
  • Herbicides / pharmacology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Shikimic Acid / analysis
  • Shikimic Acid / metabolism*
  • Spectrophotometry


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Herbicides
  • Shikimic Acid
  • glyphosate
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases
  • 3-Phosphoshikimate 1-Carboxyvinyltransferase
  • Glycine