The chirality of imazethapyr herbicide selectively affects the bacterial community in soybean field soil

  • Hao Wu
  • Hongshan Chen
  • Chongwei Jin
  • Caixian Tang
  • Yongsong Zhang
Research Article


The chiral herbicide imazethapyr (IM) is frequently used to control weeds in soybean fields in northeast China. However, the impact of IM enantiomers on microbial communities in soil is still unknown. Genetic markers (16S rRNA V3-V4 regions) were used to characterize and evaluate the variation of the bacterial communities potentially effected by IM enantiomers. Globally, the bacterial community structure based on the OTU profiles in (−)-R-IM-treated soils was significantly different from those in (+)-S-IM-treated soils, and the differences were enlarged with the treatment dose increasing. Interestingly, the Rhizobiaceae family and several other beneficial bacteria, including Bradyrhizobium, Methylobacterium, and Paenibacillus, were strongly enriched in (−)-R-IM treatment compared to (+)-S-IM treatment. In contrast, the pathogenic bacteria, including Erwinia, Pseudomonas, Burkholderia, Streptomyces, and Agrobacterium, were suppressed in the presence of (−)-R-IM compared to (+)-S-IM. Furthermore, we also observed that the bacterial community structure in (−)-R-IM-treated soils was more quickly restored to its original state compared with those in (+)-S-IM-treated soils. These findings unveil a new role of chiral herbicide in the development of soil microbial ecology and provide theoretical support for the application of low-persistence, high-efficiency, and eco-friendly optical rotatory (−)-R-IM.


Imazethapyr Enantiomer 16s rRNA Bacterial community structure Phytopathogen Beneficial bacteria 


Funding information

This research was funded by the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC, No. 41071314).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Environmental Remediation and Ecosystem Health, College of Natural Resources and Environmental ScienceZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural SciencesLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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