Glyphosate affects seed composition in glyphosate-resistant soybean

J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Apr 14;58(7):4517-22. doi: 10.1021/jf904342t.


The cultivation of glyphosate-resistant (GR) soybeans has continuously increased worldwide in recent years mainly due to the importance of glyphosate in current weed management systems. However, not much has been done to understand eventual effects of glyphosate application on GR soybean physiology, especially those related to seed composition with potential effects on human health. Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of glyphosate application on GR soybeans compared with its near-isogenic non-GR parental lines. Results of the first experiment showed that glyphosate application resulted in significant decreases in shoot nutrient concentrations, photosynthetic parameters, and biomass production. Similar trends were observed for the second experiment, although glyphosate application significantly altered seed nutrient concentrations and polyunsaturated fatty acid percentages. Glyphosate resulted in significant decreases in polyunsaturated linoleic acid (18:2n-6) (2.3% decrease) and linolenic acid (18:3n-3) (9.6% decrease) and a significant increase in monounsaturated fatty acids 17:1n-7 (30.3% increase) and 18:1n-7 (25% increase). The combined observations of decreased photosynthetic parameters and low nutrient availability in glyphosate-treated plants may explain potential adverse effects of glyphosate in GR soybeans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Glycine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glycine / pharmacology
  • Herbicide Resistance*
  • Herbicides / pharmacology*
  • Photosynthesis / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / analysis
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Seeds / drug effects
  • Seeds / metabolism
  • Soybeans / chemistry*
  • Soybeans / drug effects
  • Soybeans / metabolism


  • Herbicides
  • Plant Extracts
  • glyphosate
  • Glycine