Hormetic effects of glyphosate on plants
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As all herbicides act on pathways or processes crucial to plants, in an inhibitory or stimulatory way, low rates of any herbicide might be used to modulate plant growth, development, or plant composition. Glyphosate is the most used herbicide in the world, and very low rates of this herbicide can stimulate plant growth, an effect called hormesis. Several studies have shown that glyphosate applications at low rates can increase plant growth, induce shikimic acid accumulation, increase photosynthesis and stomatal opening, increase seed production, and shorten the plant life cycle. Low rates of glyphosate applied to leaves have been reported to cause one or more of these effects in an expanding group of species. Under field conditions, pesticide rates are not uniform, causing some target organisms to receive rates that are low enough to cause hormesis. Until the present, low rates of glyphosate have not been recommended as a growth stimulant for crops, because the hormetic dose can vary considerably, depending on many factors. The objective of the present review is to summarize and analyze existing information about the hormetic effects of glyphosate on plants, thus contributing to understanding how glyphosate hormesis takes place and evaluating the potential use of glyphosate to stimulate plant growth. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry.