BACKGROUND Crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis) is an annual monocotyledonous weed. In recent years, field applications of nicosulfuron have been ineffective in controlling crabgrass populations in Shandong Province, China. To investigate the mechanisms of resistance to nicosulfuron in crabgrass populations, the acetolactate synthase (ALS) gene fragment covering known resistance-confering mutation sites was amplified and sequenced.
RESULTS Dose–response experiments suggested that the resistant population SD13 (R) was highly resistant to nicosulfuron (resistance index R/S = 43.7) compared with the sensitive population SD22 (S). ALS gene sequencing revealed a Trp574Arg substitution in the SD13 population, and no other known resistance-conferring mutations were found. In vitro ALS enzyme assays further confirmed that the SD13 population was resistant to all tested ALS-inhibiting herbicides. The resistance pattern experiments revealed that, compared with SD22, the SD13 population exhibited broad-spectrum resistance to nicosulfuron (43.7-fold), imazethapyr (11.4-fold) and flumetsulam (16.1-fold); however, it did not develop resistance to atrazine, mesotrione and topramezone.
CONCLUSIONS This study demonstrated that Trp574Arg substitution was the main reason for crabgrass resistance to ALS-inhibiting herbicides. To our knowledge, this is the first report of Trp574Arg substitution in a weed species, and is the first report of target-site mechanisms of herbicide resistance for crabgrass. .