Hormetic effect of glyphosate persists during the entire growth period and increases sugarcane yield

Renata P. Pincelli-Souza, Fernanda P.A.P. Bortolheiro, Caio A. Carbonari, Edivaldo D. Velini, Marcelo de A. Silva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Stimulation of plant growth by low doses of a toxic compound is defined as a hormetic effect. Exposure of plants to low doses of glyphosate can cause stimulatory effects on growth or other variables. Sugarcane is the major biofuel and sugar-production crop cultivated in Brazil, but its expansion to new areas is limited; therefore, there is a demand for new technologies to improve sugarcane production per unit area. The use of pesticides to stimulate growth through the hormetic effect might be a suitable strategy to increase sugarcane yields. The purpose of this research was to investigate the effect of a low dose of glyphosate on metabolic compound accumulation, leaf phosphorus (P) concentration, and morphological variables across a one-year sugarcane cycle, as well as to determine whether the glyphosate effect was sustained and effective in improving the yield and technological quality of the sugarcane at harvest. RESULTS: The application of a low dose of glyphosate led to higher concentrations of shikimic acid and quinic acid, higher leaf P concentrations, and improved plant growth, yield, and technological quality of the sugarcane, by increasing the Brix% juice, pol% cane, total recoverable sugar, tons of culms per hectare, and tons of pol per hectare, relative to the results for an untreated control. CONCLUSIONS: The increased growth stimuli, observed through several variables, promoted an improvement in sugarcane yield. Therefore, the application of a low dose of glyphosate to sugarcane is a promising practice for crop management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2388-2394
Number of pages7
JournalPest management science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Our special thanks to APTA Research and Development for kindly granting the experimental area. We are grateful to Emerson F. Cordova de Souza to help with statistical analysis. We also are grateful for the financial support of the National Council for the Improvement of Higher Education (CAPES, Brazil) through the ?Ph.D.? fellowship for RPPS. To the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq, Brazil) through the ?Sandwich Ph.D.? fellowship for RPPS (Proc. 551225/2010-6) and through the ?Ph.D.? fellowship for FPAPB (Proc. 162258/2015-1) and also ?Productivity in Research? fellowship for MAS (Proc. 305952/2018-8).


  • Saccharum spp.
  • hormesis
  • isopropylamine salt of glyphosate
  • low dose

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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