Herbicide hormesis – can it be useful in crop production?
Article first published online: 10 MAY 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Weed Research © 2011 European Weed Research Society
Volume 51, Issue 4, pages 321–332, August 2011
How to Cite
BELZ, R. G., CEDERGREEN, N. and DUKE, S. O. (2011), Herbicide hormesis – can it be useful in crop production?. Weed Research, 51: 321–332. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3180.2011.00862.x
- Issue published online: 5 JUL 2011
- Article first published online: 10 MAY 2011
- Received 23 November 2010 Revised version accepted 8 March 2011 Subject Editor: Per Kudsk, Flakkebjerg, Denmark
- crop enhancement;
- growth stimulation;
Belz RG, Cedergreen N & Duke SO (2011). Herbicide hormesis – can it be useful in crop production? Weed Research51, 321–332.
The yield-enhancing effects of some pesticides may change the focus of their use in crop production, from crop protection to crop enhancement. While such beneficial uses of pesticides are specifically en vogue for fungicides and seed treatments, the use of herbicides for crop enhancement has not yet been realised. The potential for improving crop production by low-dose, stimulatory effects of herbicides has been proposed, and reports of 10–25% efficiency of improving certain plant traits under field conditions seem promising. However, past attempts to make use of herbicide hormesis, the term for this effect, have been largely unsuccessful. The reasons for this may be manifold, but the lack of understanding of the principles and mechanisms of this low-dose phenomenon in plants may have contributed to the often claimed lack of adequate predictability for commercial use. Thanks to the research progress recently made in this area, we are now better able to understand the principles of herbicide hormesis and its potential for crop enhancement. Therefore, this review highlights the potential of phytotoxins to induce plant hormesis and the factors influencing its expression. Based on this, possible practical constraints and consequences for the portfolio of uses for herbicides are discussed, along with undesired but apparent hormetic side effects of herbicides.