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Herbicides: Sulfonylureas

  1. Jack Plimmer1,
  2. Derek Gammon2

Published Online: 15 APR 2003

DOI: 10.1002/047126363X.agr365

Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals

Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals

How to Cite

Plimmer, J. and Gammon, D. 2003. Herbicides: Sulfonylureas. Encyclopedia of Agrochemicals. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Tampa, Florida

  2. 2

    Sacramento, California

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2003


The sulfonylurea herbicides were discovered in the 1970s, and sulfometuron was introduced commercially in 1982. They are active at extremely low rates, and 28 active ingredients have been registered worldwide. They inhibit plant cell division by targeting the enzyme ALS or acetolactate synthase, a key enzyme in the biosynthesis of branched chain amino acids. Their mammalian toxicity is very low. A key structural feature is the sulfonylurea moiety linked to a substituted pyrimidine or triazine ring.


  • herbicides;
  • sulfonylureas;
  • ALS/AHAS inhibitors;
  • acetolactate synthase;
  • plant growth regulator activity;
  • amino acid biosynthesis