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Not to be confused with glyphosate.
Skeletal formula of glufosinate
Ball-and-stick model of the glufosinate zwitterion
IUPAC name
(RS)-2-Amino-4-(hydroxy(methyl)phosphonoyl)butanoic acid
Other names
51276-47-2 YesY
ChEBI CHEBI:52136 YesY
ChEMBL ChEMBL450298 YesY
ChemSpider 4630 YesY
EC number 257-102-5
Jmol-3D images Image
KEGG C05042 YesY
PubChem 4794
Molar mass 181.13 g·mol−1
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
 YesY verify (what isYesY/N?)
Infobox references

Glufosinate or its ammonium salt DL-phosphinothricin is an active ingredient in several nonselective herbicides such as Basta, Rely, Finale, Ignite, Challenge, and Liberty. It interferes with the biosynthetic pathway of the amino acid glutamine and with ammonia detoxification. It has been used in pre-harvest crop desiccation.[1]

Some plants have been genetically modified for resistance to glufosinate. The gene which gives resistance to glufosinate is a bar or pat gene which was first isolated from two species of Streptomyces bacteria. There are glufosinate-resistant transgenic varieties of several crops, including cotton, canola, corn, soybean, sugarbeet, and rice. Of these, canola, cotton, soybean and maize are currently on the market. This includes Bayer's LibertyLink genes, used in over 100 hybrids.

Glufosinate was found to be toxic to reproduction[2] and was included in a biocide ban proposed by the Swedish Chemicals Agency[3] and approved by the European Parliament on January 13, 2009.[4]

Liberty Link crops[edit]

In response to Monsanto's hugely successful Roundup Ready crops, Bayer Crop Science released its own herbicide tolerant crops. The range of crops tolerant to the herbicide glufosinate include cotton, soybean, canola and corn. These crops are also known as Liberty Link crops.

One advantage to producing Liberty Link crops is that any glyphosate resistance encountered in problematic weeds, such as rye grass, is overcome due to glufosinate having a completely different mode of action.

Mode of action[edit]

Phosphinothricin is a glutamine synthetase inhibitor that binds to the glutamate site. Glufosinate-treated plants die due to a buildup of ammonia and corresponding decrease in pH in the thylakoid lumen, leading to the uncoupling of photophosphorylation. The uncoupling of photophosphorylation causes the production of reactive oxygen species, lipid peroxidation, and membrane destruction.[5]


  1. ^ "The agronomic benefits of glyphosate in Europe" (PDF). Monsanto Europe SA. February 2010. Retrieved 06/02/2013.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ "Neue rechtliche Regelungen für Pflanzenschutzmittel auf EU-Ebene" (PDF). Bundesministerium für Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und Verbraucherschutz (BMELV). January 2000. Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  3. ^ "Interpretation of criteria for approval of active substances in the proposed EU plant protection regulation" (PDF). Swedish Chemicals Agency (KemI). 2008-09-23. Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  4. ^ "MEPs approve pesticides legislation". 2009-01-13. Retrieved 2013-02-22. 
  5. ^ Summary of Herbicide Mechanism of Action, HRAC and WSSA

External links[edit]