The influence of herbicide placement and plant growth stage on the absorption and translocation patterns of 14C-glyphosate in glyphosate-resistant cotton was investigated. Plants at four growth stages were treated with 14C-glyphosate on a 5-cm2 section of the stem, which simulated a postemergence-directed spray (PDS) application, or on the newest mature leaf, which simulated a postemergence (POST) application. Plants were harvested 3 and 7 d after treatment and divided into the treated leaf or treated stem, mature leaves, immature leaves and buds, stems, roots, fruiting branches (including the foliage on the fruiting branch), squares, and bolls. The PDS versus POST application main effect on absorption was significant. Absorption of 14C-glyphosate applied to stem tissue was higher in PDS applications than in POST applications. Plants receiving PDS applications absorbed 35% of applied 14C-glyphosate, whereas those receiving POST applications absorbed 26%, averaged over growth stages at application. Absorption increased from the four-leaf growth stage to the eight-leaf stage in POST applications but reached a plateau at the eight-leaf stage. Plants with PDS applications showed an increase in absorption from the four- to eight- to twelve-leaf stages and reached a plateau at the 12-leaf stage. Translocation of 14C-glyphosate to roots was greater at all growth stages with PDS treatments than with POST treatments. Herbicide placement did not affect translocation of 14C-glyphosate to squares and bolls. Squares and bolls retained 0.2 to 3.7% of applied 14C-glyphosate, depending on growth stage. Separate studies were conducted to investigate the fate of foliar-applied 14C-glyphosate at the four- or eight-leaf growth stages when harvested at 8- or 10-leaf, 12-leaf, midbloom (8 to 10 nodes above white bloom), and cutout (five nodes above white bloom, physiological maturity) stages. Thirty to 37% of applied 14C-glyphosate remained in the plant at cutout in four- and eight-leaf treatment stages, respectively. The concentration of 14C-glyphosate in tissue (Bq g−1 dry weight basis) was greatest in mature leaves and immature leaves and buds in plants treated at the four-leaf stage. Plants treated at the eight-leaf stage and harvested at all growth stages except cutout showed a higher concentration of 14C-glyphosate in squares than in other plant tissue. Accumulation of 14C-glyphosate in squares reached a maximum of 43 Bq g−1 dry weight at harvest at the 12-leaf stage. This concentration corresponds to 5.7 times greater accumulation of 14C-glyphosate in squares than in roots, which may also be metabolic sinks. These data suggest that reproductive tissues such as bolls and squares can accumulate 14C-glyphosate at higher concentrations than other tissues, especially when the herbicide treatment is applied either POST or PDS during reproductive stages (eight-leaf stage and beyond).
Nomenclature: Glyphosate; cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L. ‘Delta Pine 5415RR’.