Refereed journal article or data article (A1)

Glyphosate residues alter the microbiota of a perennial weed with a minimal indirect impact on plant performance

List of AuthorsRamula Satu, Mathew Suni A, Kalske Aino, Nissinen Riitta, Saikkonen Kari, Helander Marjo


Publication year2022

JournalPlant and Soil

Journal name in sourcePLANT AND SOIL

Journal acronymPLANT SOIL

Volume number472

Issue number1-2

Start page161

End page174

Number of pages14





Self-archived copy’s web address



In cold climates, glyphosate residues may linger in soils, with effects on plant-microbe interactions and, consequently, plant performance. Here, we explore the influence of glyphosate residues on the endophytic microbiota (bacteria and fungi) and performance of the perennial nitrogen-fixing weed Lupinus polyphyllus.


In a common garden, we grew plants from six populations of L. polyphyllus in glyphosate-treated or untreated control soils, with or without additional phosphorus. We sampled plant microbiota (leaves, roots, nodules) and assessed plant performance based on six traits: height, retrogression probability (i.e. shrinkage), biomass, root:shoot ratio, nodule number, and nodule viability.


The richness of plant endophytic microbial communities was determined by soil phosphorus level rather than by glyphosate treatment. However, for bacteria, the composition of these communities differed between glyphosate-treated and control soils across plant tissue types; no difference was observed for fungi. The plant bacterial communities in both soil types were dominated by potential nitrogen-fixing bacteria belonging to family Bradyrhizobiaceae, and particularly so in glyphosate-treated soils. Overall, though, these changes in plant bacterial communities had a minor effect on plant performance: the only difference we detected was that the probability of retrogression was occasionally higher in glyphosate-treated soils than in control soils.


Our findings indicate that glyphosate-based herbicides, when applied at the recommended frequency and concentration, may not have critical effects on the growth of short-lived weeds after the safety period has passed; however, the endophytic microbiota of such weeds may experience longer-lasting shifts in community structure.

Downloadable publication

This is an electronic reprint of the original article.
This reprint may differ from the original in pagination and typographic detail. Please cite the original version.

Last updated on 2022-07-04 at 16:21