Fenquinotrione is a novel herbicide that can control a wide range of broadleaf and sedge weeds with excellent rice selectivity. We revealed that fenquinotrione potently inhibited the 4-hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase (HPPD) activity in Arabidopsis thaliana with an IC50 of 44.7 nM. The docking study suggested that the 1,3-diketone moiety of fenquinotrione formed a bidentate interaction with Fe(II) at the active site. Furthermore, π–π stacking interactions occurred between the oxoquinoxaline ring and the conserved Phe409 and Phe452 rings, indicating that fenquinotrione competes with the substrate, similar to existing HPPD inhibitors. A more than 16-fold difference in the herbicidal activity of fenquinotrione in rice and the sedge, Schoenoplectus juncoides, was observed. However, fenquinotrione showed high inhibitory activity against rice HPPD. Comparative metabolism study suggested that the potent demethylating metabolism followed by glucose conjugation in rice was responsible for the selectivity of fenquinotrione.
We examined the effect of Bradyrhizobium japonicum FeCh (BjFeCh) expression on the regulation of porphyrin biosynthesis and resistance to norflurazon (NF)-induced photobleaching in transgenic rice. In response to NF, transgenic lines F4 and F7 showed lesser declines in chlorophyll, carotenoid, Fv/Fm, ϕPSII, and light-harvesting chlorophyll (Lhc) a/b-binding proteins as compared to wild-type (WT) plants, resulting in the alleviation of NF-induced photobleaching. During photobleaching, levels of heme, protoporphyrin IX (Proto IX), Mg-Proto IX (monomethylester), and protochlorophyllide decreased in WT and transgenic plants, with lesser decreases in transgenic plants. Most porphyrin biosynthetic genes were greatly downregulated in WT and transgenic plants following NF treatment, with higher transcript levels in transgenic plants. The expression of BjFeCh in transgenic rice may play a protective role in mitigating NF-induced photobleaching by maintaining levels of heme, chlorophyll intermediates, and Lhc proteins. This finding will contribute to understanding the resistance mechanism of NF-resistant crops and establishing a new strategy for weed control.
We investigated the relative sensitivity of duckweed Lemna minor and six species of algae to seven herbicides, using an efficient high-throughput microplate-based toxicity assay. First, we assessed the sensitivity of L. minor to the seven herbicides, and then we compared its sensitivity to that of previously published data for six algal species based on EC50 values. For five herbicides, the most sensitive species differed: L. minor was most sensitive to cyclosulfamuron: Raphidocelis subcapitata was most sensitive to pretilachlor and esprocarb: Desmodesmus subspicatus was most sensitive to pyraclonil; and Navicula pelliculosa was most sensitive to pyrazoxyfen. Simetryn was evenly toxic to all species, whereas 2,4-D was evenly less toxic, with only small differences in species sensitivity. These results suggested that a single algal species cannot represent the sensitivity of the primary producer assemblage to a given herbicide. Therefore, to assess the ecological effects of herbicides, aquatic plant and multispecies algal toxicity data sets are essential.
Brassinosteroids are plant steroid hormones that are essential for plant growth. When germinated rice seeds were treated with brassinolide (BL), stems were elongated and root spiral formation was observed at 5 nM of BL. Such root spiral formation was not induced by other plant hormones such as auxin and gibberellin. Since weak non-steroidal brassinolide-like compound (NSBR1) also induced spiral formation, this root spiral induction can be used as the index in the search for BL-like compounds.
We investigated the synthesis and herbicidal activity of 23 toxoflavin analogs, 1a–w, in which aromatic rings (R) were introduced into the C-3 position. In paddy field conditions, 1k (R=2-CF3–C6H4) and 1w (R=2-thienyl) showed excellent herbicidal activity. Under upland field conditions, we found that toxoflavin analogs 1a (R=C6H5), 1n (R=2-CH3O–C6H4), and 1p (R=4-CH3O–C6H4) exhibited wide herbicidal spectrum against Echinochloa crus-galli (L) var. crus-galli (ECHCG), Chenopodium album, and Amaranthus viridis (AMAVI). The analog with the 2-fluoro group on benzene ring 1b also showed high herbicidal activity against both ECHCG and AMAVI.
Meta-diamide insecticides including broflanilide have a high insecticidal activity by acting on RDL GABA receptors. Both membrane potential assays and docking studies suggest that the target site of meta-diamides is different from that of conventional noncompetitive inhibitors, such as fipronil. In fact, meta-diamides are effective against cyclodiene- and fipronil-resistant pests that carry target-site mutations. Dinotefuran uniquely possesses a tetrahydrofuran ring, whereas other neonicotinoids possess aromatic rings. Moreover, dinotefuran has been reported to be effective against imidacloprid-resistant strains. A docking study predicted the weak binding of dinotefuran to cytochrome P450s which are associated with imidacloprid resistance. Metabolic assays revealed that dinotefuran was not metabolized by these cytochrome P450s. These findings suggest that the lack of metabolic activity of P450s against dinotefuran causes a low level of cross-resistance.
Similar to the pharmaceutical compounds, pesticides require human safety assessment for their registration and distribution; however, it is absolutely impossible to assess human safety by dosing humans with pesticides. Thus, how to appropriately evaluate the safety of pesticides in humans remains a great subject of debate. In this article, we present some examples of pesticide toxicity studies that identify species differences in toxicity and evaluate human safety by applying combinations of novel in vivo, in vitro, and in silico techniques to separately assess the key toxicodynamic (i.e., sensitivity) and/or toxicokinetic (i.e., exposure) factors. Because it is scientifically sound, the safety assessment strategy illustrated for three compounds in this article is expected to play an important role in the human safety assessment of agricultural compounds.
Matrix certified reference materials (CRMs) and proficiency testings (PTs) are effective for evaluation of the quality of analytical results. The National Metrology Institute of Japan has developed five kinds of CRMs and has provided eight PTs so far for the quantification of pesticide residues in foods. Target pesticides were sprayed on growing crops, and the harvests were used for the preparation of CRMs and PT samples. In most cases, multiple analytical methods based on isotope dilution mass spectrometry were used to ensure the reliability of certified values (for CRMs) and reference values (for PT samples). These activities were carried out with corresponding to the international standards such as ISO 17034 and ISO/IEC 17043. An overview of the development of CRMs and the implementation of PTs is described, with some examples.