Bar-expressing peppermint (Mentha Piperita L. var. Black Mitcham) plants are highly resistant to the glufosinate herbicide Liberty Academic Article uri icon


  • Weed control is a substantial economic input for production of mint oils, the most commercially important of which are obtained from peppermint. The objective of this research is to obtain peppermint plants resistant to the broad-spectrum herbicide glufosinate, which can be used for development of economically efficacious weed control strategies and, perhaps, serve as a paradigm in perennial crops. The bar gene, which encodes phosphinothricin acetyltransferase (PAT) which inactivates glufosinate-ammonium or phosphinothricin (PPT), was constructed into Agrobacterium tumefaciens binary vectors under the nopaline synthase (NOS) or a chimeric promoter containing a trimer of the OCS-upstream-activating sequence (UAS) to a MAS promoter/activator region[(OCS)3MAS]. A total of 142 independent transgenic peppermint (cv. Black Mitcham) plants were obtained (107 and 35 were obtained with pGPTV (and pCAS1) and pATC940 vectors, respectively) and evaluated for herbicide resistance in the greenhouse after foliar application of glufosinate herbicide Liberty as the commercial product. All transgenic plants exhibited substantially less herbicide symptom development than non-transgenic Black Mitcham or untransformed tissue cultured-derived plants, albeit variation for herbicide resistance occurred amongst the transformed lines. Plants from 35 of the 142 lines were selected at random and all were PCR-positive for the presence of bar. Five lines, that were least affected, exhibited no injury symptoms to Liberty concentrations that are 4 times the standard level for control of weeds in peppermint fields. The most resistant transgenic plants had the greatest steady-state PAT mRNA levels and PAT activities. No experimental difference in herbicide resistance was evident between plant populations obtained with pGPTV (pCAS1)-bar or pATC940-bar vector. However, 4 of 35 lines transformed with (ocs)3MAS-bar exhibited maximal resistance while only 1 of 107 NOS-bar lines has comparable resistance. These herbicide resistant peppermint plants will facilitate development of post-emergent herbicide control strategies that use newer generation herbicides, like glufosinate, which have reduced environmental and product residual because of metabolism by microbes and the transgenic plants.

published proceedings

  • Molecular Breeding

author list (cited authors)

  • Li, X., Gong, Z., Koiwa, H., Niu, X., Espartero, J., Zhu, X., ... Hasegawa, P. M.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Li, Xia||Gong, Zhizhong||Koiwa, Hisashi||Niu, Xiaomu||Espartero, Joaquin||Zhu, Xiaoping||Veronese, Paola||Ruggiero, Bruno||Bressan, Ray A||Weller, Stephen C||Hasegawa, Paul M

publication date

  • September 2001