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Herbicide Resistance Essay

Superweeds threaten to negatively impact U.S. soybean, cotton and corn production. These crops were previously controlled effectively by the herbicide glyphosate (Round up). Glyphosate works by stopping the enzyme EPSP synthase by gumming up the enzyme. This renders the EPSP incapable of production. If EPSP synthase is not present, plants stop producing necessary proteins. Without these proteins, the plants wither, turn yellow, and die within a few days (“Glyphosate-resistant ‘superweeds’ may be Less Susceptible to Diseases,” 2012). Glyphosate (Round Up) is the herbicide of choice for the majority of farmers in the United States; however, since some plants are resistant to glyphosate, other herbicides have been utilized (“Glyphosate-resistant ‘superweeds’ may be Less Susceptible to Diseases,” 2012).

It has been discovered that the gene encoding the enzyme that causes the plant resistance to glyphosate originated in soil microbes. The EPSP synthase found in soil is slightly different than the enzyme found in plants as a result of an altered amino acid sequence in the soil bacterium. It prevents glyphosate from binding and does not negatively impact the resistant EPSP synthase (“Glyphosate-resistant ‘superweeds’ may be Less Susceptible to Diseases,” 2012). Soybeans, cotton, and corn are relevant to the U.S. economy. Over 50% of these products are from strains of herbicide-resistant plants. This could cause a decrease in crop growth resulting in higher prices and lower availability to consumers (Lubin, “Dramatic Proliferation Of Herbicide-Resistant Weeds Threatens U.S. Crops,” 2011).

Rotating crops is said to be an easy method or controlling pesticide resistance. Rotating causes diversity in chemical properties in the soil that make it difficult for resistance to form. Rotating pesticides or herbicides is another control method (“Glyphosate-resistant ‘superweeds’ may be Less Susceptible to Diseases,” 2012). I do not believe that prevention of pesticide/herbicide resistance is possible. It is possible to slow the development of resistance; however, science is not predictable and as seen in the past, evolution always develops new ways of self-preservation


Glyphosate-resistant ‘superweeds’ may be Less Susceptible to Diseases. (2012, July 17). Purdue Newsroom. Retrieved from

Herbicide Resistant Weeds. (n.d.). Herbicide Resistant Weeds. Retrieved from Lubin, G. (2011, June 9). Dramatic Proliferation Of Herbicide-Resistant Weeds Threatens U.S. Crops. Business Insider. Retrieved from

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