Effects of the novel HPPD-inhibitor herbicide QYM201 on enzyme activity and microorganisms, and its degradation in soil


QYM201 is a 4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase (HPPD) inhibiting herbicide recently registered in China for controlling grass and broadleaf weeds in wheat. It is a novel herbicide, and its potential harm to soil ecosystems has not yet been reported. This study investigates the influence of QYM201 on soil enzyme activity and microorganism quantities in two different soils at concentrations of 0.1, 1, and 5 mg kg−1 soil. Results indicate that QYM201 initially inhibited soil protease, urease, and sucrase activity and this effect increased with concentration. During the later stages of incubation, inhibitory effects gradually weakened and by the end of the experiment (45 days), enzyme activity was restored to control levels. Catalase activity was stimulated by QYM201, with significant differences observed between the QYM201-treated groups and the control at the onset of exposure. This stimulation effect decreased during the later stages of the experiment. However, catalase activity was still significantly higher at the end of the experiment compared to the control. The effects of QYM201 on soil microorganisms differed. Initially, bacteria and actinomycetes quantities were decreased by QYM201 (10 days). As the incubation progressed, microorganism quantities in the lower concentration groups (0.1 and 1 mg kg−1 soil) were restored to control levels, while those of the high concentration group (5 mg kg−1 soil) did not fully recover. QYM201 did not significantly impact the quantity of fungi. The half-life and degradation rate constant (k) of QYM201 for the two studied soil types were 23.1 days and 16.1 days, and 0.030 and 0.043 day−1, respectively.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4


  1. Anonymous (2017) KingAgroot. http://www.kingagroot.com/product_sanzuo.html.

  2. Boger P, Sandmann G (1998) Carotenoid biosynthesis inhibitor herbicides—Mode of action and resistance mechanisms. 9(29–35):5

  3. Cai Z, Wang H, Shi S, Wang W, Chen Q, Zhao X, Ye Q (2013) Aerobic biodegradation kinetics and pathway of the novel herbicide ZJ0273 in soils. Eur J Soil Sci 64:37–46

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Cai Z, Li S, Zhang W, Ma J, Wang J, Cai J, Yang G (2014) Effects of the novel pyrimidynyloxybenzoic herbicide ZJ0273 on enzyme activities, microorganisms and its degradation in Chinese soils. Environ Sci Pollut Res 22:4425–4433

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Cai ZQ, Chen QL, Wang HY, He Y, Wang W, Zhao X et al. (2012) Degradation of the novel herbicide ZJ0273 by Amycolatopsis sp. M3-1 isolated from soil. Appl Microbiol Biot 96(5):1371–1379

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Carter D, Mortland M, Kemper W (1986) Methods of soil analysis Part I: Physical and mineralogical methods. pp. 413–423

  7. Cho JE (2013) The structure-based three-dimensional pharmacophore models for Arabidopsis thaliana HPPD inhibitors as Herbicide. Bulletin-Korean Chem Soc 34:2909–2914

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Du Z (2018) Effects of the herbicide mesotrione on soil enzyme activity and microbial communities. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 164:571–578

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Garcı́a-Gil JC, Plaza C, Soler-Rovira P, Polo A (2000) Long-term effects of municipal solid waste compost application on soil enzyme activities and microbial biomass. Soil Biol Biochem 32:1907–1913

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. García-Ruiz R, Ochoa V, Hinojosa MB, Carreira JA (2008) Suitability of enzyme activities for the monitoring of soil quality improvement in organic agricultural systems. Soil Biol Biochem 40:2137–2145

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Gianfreda L, Sannino F, Violante A (1995) Pesticide effects on the activity of free, immobilized and soil invertase. Soil Biol Biochem 27:1201–1208

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Girvan M, Bullimore J, Ball A, Pretty J, Osborn A (2004) Responses of active bacterial and fungal communities in soils under winter wheat to different fertlizer and pesticide regimens. 70:2692–2701

  13. Guan, SY (1986) Soil enzyme and its research methods. Agriculture Press, Beijing, pp. 274–278. (in Chinese)

  14. Hirai K, Uchida A, Ohno R (2002) Major synthetic routes for modern herbicide classes and agrochemical characteristics. Herbicide Classes in Development. pp. 179–289

  15. Johnson JL, L. Temple K (1964) Some variables affecting the measurement of “catalase activity” in soil1. Soil Science Society of America Journal - SSSAJ 28

  16. Kaczynski P, Lozowicka B, Hrynko I, Wolejko E (2016) Behaviour of mesotrione in maize and soil system and its influence on soil dehydrogenase activity. Sci Total Environ 571:1079–1088

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Kamimura Y Hayano K, (2000) Properties of protease extracted from tea-field soil. 30:351–355

  18. Lessard I, Renella G, Sauvé S, Deschênes L, (2013) Metal toxicity assessment in soils using enzymatic activity: Can water be used as a surrogate buffer? 57(256):263

  19. Li B (2009) Effect of Chlorimuron-ethyl on activity of soil enzymes. J Anhui Agric Sci 37(10):4578–4580

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Li A, Yao Y, Qing Sun S, Ya Jiang L, Liu X, Gui Gao Z (2014) Impact of Herbicide Atrazine and Nicosulfuron on the Soil Respiration and Enzyme Activities 1010–1012:484–488

  21. Lin X (2008) Effects of bensulfuron-methyl on soil respiration and enzyme activities in flooded paddy fields. J Zhejiang Univ: Agric Life Sci. 34(1):109–113

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Mahía J, González-Prieto S, Martín A, Bååth E, Díaz-Raviña M (2011) Biochemical properties and microbial community structure of five different soils after atrazine addition 47:577–589

  23. Mallory-Smith C, James Retzinger E (2003) Revised classification of herbicides by site of action for weed resistance management strategies 1(17):605–619

  24. Marx MC, Wood M, Jarvis SC (2001) A microplate fluorimetric assay for the study of enzyme diversity in soils 33:1633–1640

  25. Matringe M, Sailland A, Pelissier B, Rolland A, Zink O (2005) p-Hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase inhibitor-resistant plants 61:269–276

  26. May P, A. Douglas L (1976) Assay for soil urease activity 45:301–305

  27. Mitchell G, W Bartlett D, EM Fraser T, Hawkes T, C Holt D, K Townson J, A Wichert R (2001) Mesotrione: a new selective herbicide for use in maize. 57:120–128

  28. Oliveira M, J. Jhala A, Gaines T, Irmak S, Amundsen K, E. Scott J, Knezevic SZ (2017) Confirmation and Control of HPPD-Inhibiting Herbicide–Resistant Waterhemp (Amaranthus tuberculatus) in Nebraska. 31:67–79

  29. Pallett KE (2000) The mode of action of isoxaflutole: a case study of an emerging target site. Herbicides and their mechanism of action. 215–238

  30. Rasool N, Reshi Z, Shah M (2014) Effect of butachlor (G) on soil enzyme activity. European Journal of Soil Biology. 61

  31. Ratcliff AW, Busse M,J. Shestak C (2006) Changes in microbial community structure following herbicide (glyphosate) additions to forest soils, 34, pp. 114–124

  32. Riah W, Laval K, Laroche-Ajzenberg E, Trinsoutrot Gattin I, Mougin C, Latour X (2014) Effects of pesticides on soil enzymes: a review. Environ Chem Lett 12:257–273

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Sannino F, Gianfreda L (2001) Pesticide influence on soil enzymatic activities 45:417–425

  34. Sebiomo A (2011) Effect of four herbicides on microbial population, soil organic matter and dehydrogenase activity. Afr J Biotechnol. 10(5):770–778

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  35. Smith AE, Grover R, Cessna AR, Shewchuk SH, Hunter J (1986) Fate of diclofop-methyl after application to a wheat field. 1, 15

  36. Srinivasulu M, Jaffer Mohiddin G, Subramanyam K, Rangaswamy V (2012) Effect of insecticides alone and in combination with fungicides on nitrification and phosphatase activity in two groundnut (Arachis hypogeae L.) soils. Environ Geochem Health 34:365–374

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Tao B, Jiang LX, Shen XF (2011) Effects of glyphosate on soil microorganisms. Chinese J Oil Crop Sci. 33(02):162–168+179. (in Chinese)

  38. Teng CH, Tao B (2006) Effects of chlorimuron-ethyl on soil enzymes activities. J Agro-Environ Sci. 25(5):1294–1298

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  39. Wakabayashi K, Böger P (2002) Target sites for herbicides: entering the 21st century, 58, pp. 1149–1154

  40. Wang B, Jiao H, Liu BL, Tian Y, Zheng JY (2012) The Research progress of soil enzyme to pesticide degradation mechanism. Chinese Agric Sci Bulletin. 28(32):253–257

    Google Scholar 

  41. Yu X (2018) Determination of QYM201 by 19F NMR quantitative spectrometry. Pesticide. 57(09), 645–646+674. (in Chinese)

  42. Zhang C, Xu J, Liu X, Dong F, Kong Z, Sheng Y, Zheng Y (2010b) Impact of imazethapyr on the microbial community structure in agricultural soils. Chemosphere 81:800–806

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Zhang H (2014) Dissipation of trinexapac-ethyl and its metabolite in wheat field ecosystems and microbial degradation in soil. Int J Environ Analy Chem. v. 94(14–15):1375–1387

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Zhang Q, Zhu L, Wang J, Xie H, Wang J, Wang F, Sun F (2014) Effects of fomesafen on soil enzyme activity, microbial population, and bacterial community composition. Environmental monitoring and assessment 186(5):2801–2812

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Zhang C, Liu X, Dong F, Xu J, Zheng Y-Q, Li J (2010) Soil microbial communities response to herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid butyl ester. 46:175–180

  46. Zhang F (2017) The herbicidal spectrum and safety evaluation of the new compound QYM201 on wheat field weed. Abstracts of Papers in The 13th National Weed Science Conference. (in Chinese)

  47. Zhou SP, Duan CQ, Liu HC (2008) Impacts on sucrase and urease activity in soil by Cypermethrin. Environ Sci Survey. 27(4):14–16

    Google Scholar 

  48. Zhu H (2016) Study on the analytical method of QYM201 raw pesticide by HPLC. Pesticide Sci Adm. 37(9):36–39

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  49. Zulet A, Gil M, Villamor J, Zabalza A, Hoorn R, Royuela M (2013) Proteolytic pathways induced by herbicides that inhibit amino acid biosynthesis. 8:e73847

Download references


This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China [grant numbers 2016YFD0300709, 2016YFD0300701], the Major Science and Technology Innovation Project in Shandong Province [grant number 2018CXGC0213], and funds from the “Shandong Double” Tops Program [grant number SYL2017XTTD11]. We also thank Elsevier Language Editing Services for their contribution to the language polishing of this paper.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jinxin Wang.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Zhang, F., Qiao, Z., Yao, C. et al. Effects of the novel HPPD-inhibitor herbicide QYM201 on enzyme activity and microorganisms, and its degradation in soil. Ecotoxicology (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10646-020-02302-4

Download citation


  • Herbicide
  • QYM201
  • Soil enzyme
  • Microbial population
  • Degradation kinetics