Assessing plant-available glyphosate in contrasting soils by diffusive gradient in thin-films technique (DGT) Academic Article uri icon


  • Glyphosate represents one quarter of global herbicide sales, with growing interest in both its fate in soils and potential to cause non-target phytotoxicity to plants. However, assessing glyphosate bioavailability to plants from soil residues remains challenging. Here we demonstrate that the diffusive gradient in thin-films technique (DGT) can effectively measure available glyphosate across boundary conditions typical of the soil environment: pH 4-9, P concentrations of 20-300 μg P L-1 and NaHCO3 concentrations of 10-1800 mg L-1. In this study, four soils with different glyphosate sorption properties were dosed with up to 16 mg kg-1 of glyphosate and phytotoxicity to wheat and lupin was measured against the DGT-glyphosate concentrations. An improved dose response curve was obtained for root elongation of wheat and lupin across soil types when DGT-glyphosate was used instead of alkaline-extractable (i.e., total extractable) glyphosate. Total extractable glyphosate concentrations of 2.6 and 5.0 mg glyphosate kg-1 in the sandy Tenosol, equivalent to 2.9 and 6.5 μg L-1 DGT-extractable glyphosate, reduced the root length of lupins (but not wheat) by 32-36% compared with the untreated control. DGT is therefore a promising method for assessing phytotoxic levels of glyphosate across different soils.


  • Weng, Zhe
  • Rose, Michael
  • Tavakkoli, Ehsan
  • Van Zwieten, Lukas
  • Styles, Gavin
  • Bennett, William
  • Lombi, Enzo

publication date

  • 2019