Abstract Title:

Comparative environmental impacts of glyphosate and conventional herbicides when used with glyphosate-tolerant and non-tolerant crops.

Abstract Source:

Environ Pollut. 2010 Oct;158(10):3172-8. Epub 2010 Aug 6. PMID: 20691521

Abstract Author(s):

Laure Mamy, Benoît Gabrielle, Enrique Barriuso

Article Affiliation:

INRA-AgroParisTech, UMR 1091 Environnement et Grandes Cultures, 78850 Thiverval-Grignon, France. [email protected]


The introduction of glyphosate-tolerant (GT) crops is expected to mitigate the environmental contamination by herbicides because glyphosate is less persistent and toxic than the herbicides used on non-GT crops. Here, we compared the environmental balances of herbicide applications for both crop types in three French field trials. The dynamic of herbicides and their metabolites in soil, groundwater and air was simulated with PRZM model and compared to field measurements. The associated impacts were aggregated with toxicity potentials calculated with the fate and exposure model USES for several environmental endpoints. The impacts of GT systems were lower than those of non-GT systems, but the accumulation in soils of one glyphosate metabolite (aminomethylphosphonic acid) questions the sustainability of GT systems. The magnitude of the impacts depends on the rates and frequency of glyphosate application being highest for GT maize monoculture and lowest for combination of GT oilseed rape and non-GT sugarbeet crops.

Study Type : Commentary

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