Trifluralin, a herbicide used to protect many arable and horticultural crops, was evaluated for its potential toxicity on the mammalian ovary. To this end, adult female mice were fed or not (control) with a trifluralin-enriched diet (150 mg/kg body weight/day) during gestation and lactation. After weaning, 3-week-old female mice from either trifluralin-treated or control groups were used to evaluate whether the exposure to this herbicide in utero and during lactation could induce stress responses in the ovary. It was found that trifluralin exposure caused a significantly higher level of p53, but not of pRb, in the whole ovary, and in particular in granulosa cells. TUNEL staining showed that herbicide treatment did not increase the apoptotic index of the somatic compartment. Also oocyte fertilizability was unaffected, as metaphase II oocytes retrieved from treated mice were capable of forming male and female pronuclei after in vitro fertilization as control mice. However, trifluralin determined a slightly higher number of oocytes with cytoplasmic degeneration compared with control animals. In conclusion, our results suggest that exposure to a low trifluralin dose during pregnancy and lactation does not impair oocyte quality, but can induce a stress response in ovarian somatic cells. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Environ Toxicol, 2013.