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Terbuthylazine interferes with iron nutrition in maize (Zea mays) plants


Many chemicals, including herbicides, are routinely applied to crops for weed management and food production improvement. However, the intensive use of herbicides could lead eventually to a great environmental threat due to their persistence and accumulation in the ecosystems and contamination of soils. Furthermore, the possible effect of these chemicals on nutrient uptake and assimilation in crops has only recently been discussed. The present study aimed at understanding the effect of the herbicide terbuthylazine (TBA), a herbicide commonly applied to control weeds in leguminous species and triazine tolerant crops, on the capability of maize plants to cope with iron (Fe) shortage. The application of 2 and 5 mg L−1 TBA caused a significant reduction of root Fe concentration. This reduction might be attributed to a decreased release of phytosiderophores, which in turn could be ascribed to a reduced sulfur assimilation. Results provide evidence that TBA impairs Fe uptake and accumulation in non-target plants most likely interacting with sulfur-assimilating enzymes [ATP sulfurylase and O-acetylserine(thiol)lyase].

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This work has been financially supported by the Italian MIUR (FIRB-Programma“Futuro in Ricerca” 2012-RBFR127WJ9).

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Correspondence to Daniele Del Buono.

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Communicated by MG dos Santos.

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Bartucca, M.L., Celletti, S., Mimmo, T. et al. Terbuthylazine interferes with iron nutrition in maize (Zea mays) plants. Acta Physiol Plant 39, 235 (2017).

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  • Iron deficiency
  • Maize
  • Phytosiderophores
  • Sulfur assimilation
  • Terbuthylazine