Abstract: A greenhouse study was conducted to determine the effects of sublethal dicamba concentrations in the nutrient media on hydroponically grown tomato plants. Tomato leaf area was the most sensitive vegetative growth parameter measured in response to dicamba concentrations, ranging from 0 to 22 µg/L. Leaf area was reduced 31 and 76%, and specific leaf weights, a relative measure of leaf thickness (g/cm2), increased 26 and 121% after 30-d exposure to dicamba concentrations of 2.2 and 22 µg/L, respectively. In long-term experiments conducted until plants produced first ripe fruit, regression analysis indicated leaf area reductions of 8 and 66% from initial dicamba concentrations of 1 and 10 µg/L, respectively. Reductions in total fruit fresh weight were highly correlated (r = 0.93) with leaf area reductions caused by dicamba. A hyperbolic regression model gave predicted losses in fruit fresh weight per plant of 6% at 1 µg/L dicamba and 73% at 10 µg/L dicamba (r2 = 0.87). Results generally indicated that the level of dicamba in the nutrient media of hydroponically grown tomatoes that produced no observable effect was ≤ 1 µg/L.
Nomenclature: Dicamba; tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum L. ‘Trust’.
Additional index words: Groundwater contamination, herbicide bioassay.
Abbreviations: CID, centimeter inside diameter; DAT, days after transplant; EC, electrical conductivity; PI, plant introduction.