Comparative studies on the modes of action of SC-0224 and glyphosate

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The biological actions of the herbicides SC-0224 (trimethylsulfonium carboxymethylaminomethylphosphonate) and glyphosate [N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine] (PMG) were compared. In each study trimethylsulfonium iodide (TMS-I) was included as a treatment because the trimethylsulfonium ion is a constituent of the SC-0224 molecular structure.

In inflated duckweed (Lemna gibba L.), both formulated and technical grade forms of SC-0224 were found to be much more phytotoxic to duckweed than either formulated or technical grade forms of glyphosate. The growth inhibition caused by glyphosate was partially prevented by different combinations of the aromatic amino acids phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan; whereas, the duckweed growth inhibition caused by SC-0224 could not be reduced by the same amino acid combinations. TMS-I and SC-0224 were found to be equally phytotoxic to duckweed. SC-0224 caused larger increases than glyphosate in the pool levels of amino acids; the increases caused by SC-0224 were similar, however, to those caused by trimethylsulfonium iodide. Expressed on a per gram fresh weight basis none of the chemical treatments caused significant changes in soluble protein or the incorporation of ¹⁴C-leucine into soluble protein. On a per flask basis (allowing for decreased growth in treated flasks), both herbicides and TMS-I caused significant decreases in soluble protein and ¹⁴C-leucine incorporation. SC-0224 and TMS-I caused larger decreases than glyphosate in both cases but the SC-0224 and TMS-I treatments were not significantly different. These data indicate that differences in the phytotoxicity of SC-0224 .and glyphosate may be due to the action of the trimethylsulfonium ion of the SC-0224 structure.

The effects of these herbicides on the conversion of shikimate to anthranilate in a cell-free extract of Klebsiella pneumoniae ATCC 25306 were also compared. SC-0224 and glyphosate equally inhibited the production of anthranilate indicating that SC-0224 has action similar to glyphosate on the shikimate pathway.

The effects of these herbicides on photosynthetic electron transport (the Hill reaction) was determined using isolated thylakoids from Alaska pea (Pisum sativum L.). The action of SC-0224 was compared with the action of glyphosate, TMS-I and diuron [3-(3,4-dichorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea]. SC-0224, glyphosate and TMS-I did not inhibit the Hill reaction at concentrations up to 10 mM; whereas, diuron caused an almost total inhibition at 0.10 mM. The results of this study indicate that SC-0224 is not an inhibitor of photosynthetic electron transport.

These studies indicate that both constituents of the SC-0224 structure, TMS and PMG, are phytotoxic and may act independently.