Introduction: Glufosinate is a short name for the ammonium salt, glufosinate-ammonium. It is a broad-spectrum contact herbicide and is used to control a wide range of weeds after the crop emerges or for total vegetation control on land not used for cultivation. Glufosinate herbicides are also used to desiccate (dry off) crops before harvest. Glufosinate is a natural compound isolated from two species of Streptomyces fungi. It inhibits the activity of an enzyme, glutamine synthetase, which is necessary for the production of glutamine and for ammonia detoxification. The application of glufosinate leads to reduced glutamine and increased ammonia levels in the plant tissues. This causes photosynthesis to stop and the plant dies within a few days. Glufosinate also inhibits the same enzyme in animals.
Common name: Glufosinate-ammonium
Another name: BASTA; finale; ignite; Buster; LIBERTY; hoe39866; hoe00661; finale14sl; glufosinate; ammoniumglufusinate
Chemical Name: ammonium 4-[hydroxy(methyl)phosphinoyl]-DL-homoalaninate; ammonium DL-homoalanin-4-yl(methyl)phosphinate
Mol. Weight: 215.19
Empirical formula: C5H18N3O4P
CAS No.: 77182-82-2
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Glufosinate-ammonium FAO standard
Harmful if inhaled. Material may be irritating to mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract.
May cause skin irritation. May be harmful if absorbed through the skin.
May cause eye irritation.
Harmful if swallowed.
Emits toxic fumes under fire conditions.
Product analysis by hplc with u.v. determination (CIPAC Handbook, 1995, G, 89-93). Details available from Bayer CropScience. Residue analysis by glc after derivatisation (Man. Pestic. Residue Anal. DFG651).
Reviews FAO/WHO 86, 88 (see part 2 of the Bibliography). E. Ebert et al., Fd. Chem. Toxic.,28(5), 339-349 (1990); R. Hack et al., Fd. Chem. Toxic., 32(5), 461-470 (1994). Oral Acute oral LD50 for male rats 2000, female rats 1620, male mice 431, female mice 416, dogs 200-400 mg/kg. Skin and eye Acute percutaneous LD50 for male rats >4000, female rats c. 4000 mg/kg. Not a skin or eye irritant. Inhalation LC50 (4 h) for male rats 1.26, female rats 2.60 mg/l air (dust); for rats >0.62 mg/l air (aerosol). NOEL (2 y) for rats 2 mg/kg b.w. daily. ADI (JMPR) 0.02 mg/kg b.w. (for glufosinate-ammonium, N-acetylglufosinate and 3-methylphosphinico-propionic acid, alone, or in combination) . Other No teratogenic, carcinogenic, mutagenic or neurotoxic effects have been observed. Toxicity class WHO (a.i.) III; EPA (formulation) III EC classification Xn; R22
Birds Dietary LC50 (8 d) for Japanese quail >5000 mg/kg. Fish LC50 (96 h) for rainbow trout 710, carp, bluegill sunfish, golden orfe >1000 mg/l. Daphnia LC50 (48 h) 560-1000 mg/l. Algae LD50 for Scenedesmus subspicatus ³1000, Selenastrum capricornutum 37 mg/l. Bees Not hazardous to bees; LD50 >100 mg/bee. Worms LD50 for earthworms >1000 mg/kg soil. Other beneficial spp. Not toxic to beneficial arthropods.
Animals Rapidly excreted, predominantly via faeces (90%). The principal metabolite is 3-(methyl)phosphinoylpropionic acid. A further faecal metabolite is N-acetylglufosinate, formed by intestinal micro-organisms. Plants Non-selective use: only the metabolite, 3-(methyl)phosphinoylpropionic acid (3-MPP), is taken up in traces from the soil. Desiccation: most of the residues consist of parent glufosinate-ammonium, with minor amounts of metabolite 3-MPP. Selective use: the principal metabolite is N-acetylglufosinate, with lesser amounts of parent and 3-MPP. Soil/Environment Rapidly degraded in surface levels of soil, and in water. Because of polarity, it and its metabolites do not bioaccumulate. Metabolism in soil and water reviewed (E. Dorn et al., Z. Pflanzenkr. Pflanzenschutz, 1992, Sonderheft XIII, pp. 459-468). Degraded to 3-(methyl)phosphinoylpropionic acid and 2-(methyl)phosphinoylacetic acid, and ultimately to CO2 and bound residues. In soil, DT50 3-10 d (lab.), 7-20 d (field); DT90 10-30 d (lab.); DT50 of metabolites 7-19 d (lab.). DT50 in water c. 2-30 d. Lysimeter studies and model calculations show that neither a.i. nor metabolites leach into groundwater; this appears to be due to rapid degradation, and adsorption to certain soil elements. Adsorption is more correlated with clay content than organic matter, Kclay 2-115, Koc 10-1230. (A. Zumdick et al., Proc. 9th IUPAC Int. Congr. Pestic. Chem., London, 1998, 2, 6A-023; idem, ibid., 6D-034).
Usage: Herbicide that can be applied post-emergence in noncrop areas and as a directed spray in field-grown and container nursery stock. It is nonselective and controls a broad spectrum and annual and perennial grass and broadleaf weeds.
Application: Biochemistry Glutamine synthetase inhibitor; leads to accumulation of ammonium ions, and inhibition of photosynthesis. Mode of action Non-selective contact herbicide with some systemic action. Translocation occurs only within leaves, predominantly from the leaf base to the leaf tip. Uses Glufosinate-ammonium is used for control of a wide range of annual and perennial broad-leaved weeds and grasses in fruit orchards, vineyards, rubber and oil palm plantations, ornamental trees and bushes, non-crop land, and pre-emergence in vegetables. Also used as a desiccant in potatoes, sunflowers, etc. For control of annual and perennial weeds and grasses in glufosinate-tolerant crops (oilseed rape, maize, soya beans, sugar beet) developed through gene technology. Applied at 0.4-1.5 kg/ha.