Herbicidal activity of the antibiotics geldanamycin and nigericin

Rod M. Heisey, Alan R. Putnam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Geldanamycin and nigericin, phytotoxic metabolites from a strain of Streptomyces hygroscopicus, were tested for herbicidal activity and selectivity on a range of crop and weed species. In petri dish bioassays, geldanamycin reduced radicle growth of all species tested, whereas nigericin inhibited 7 of 10. The two compounds in mixture appeared to be additive rather than synergistic in effect. In assays with seeds and seedlings in field soil, geldanamycin showed significant preemergence activity on proso millet, barnyardgrass, garden cress, and giant foxtail. It had no postemergence herbicidal effect on any of the species tested. Nigericin had preemergence activity on garden cress and large crabgrass and postemergence activity on garden cress and velvetleaf. The postemergence effect of nigericin on velvetleaf was especially striking, with leaves showing symptoms of injury within 24-48 h of treatment. Doses as low as 0.3 kg/ha caused damage. The primary herbicidal effect of both compounds was slowing of seed germination or seedling growth, although some plants were killed, especially at higher rates of application. Herbicidal effects were most pronounced for 1 to 2 weeks after treatment and diminished thereafter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Plant Growth Regulation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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