There are currently 402 studies in the GENERA database.

Advanced Search

General Information

Document type
  • Peer-reviewed journal article
GE organism
  • maize
GE trait
  • herbicide tolerance
  • Belgium


  • positive effect
Safety for environment
  • positive effect

Environmental impact of herbicide regimes used with genetically modified herbicide-resistant maize

Devos, Y; Cougnon, M; Vergucht, S; Bulcke, R; Haesaert, G; Steurbaut, W; Reheul, D
Transgenic Research. 2008 December. 17(6):1059-1077

Link to full text (journal may charge for access)

PMID: 18404410 DOI: 10.1007/s11248-008-9181-8 ISSN: 0962-8819


With the potential advent of genetically modified herbicide-resistant (GMHR) crops in the European Union, changes in patterns of herbicide use are predicted. Broad-spectrum, non-selective herbicides used with GMHR crops are expected to substitute for a set of currently used herbicides, which might alter the agro-environmental footprint from crop production. To test this hypothesis, the environmental impact of various herbicide regimes currently used with non-GMHR maize in Belgium was calculated and compared with that of possible herbicide regimes applied in GMHR maize. Impacts on human health and the environment were calculated through the pesticide occupational and environmental risk (POCER) indicator. Results showed that the environmental impact of herbicide regimes solely relying on the active ingredients glyphosate (GLY) or glufosinate-ammonium (GLU) is lower than that of herbicide regimes applied in non-GMHR maize. Due to the lower potential of GLY and GLU to contaminate ground water and their lower acute toxicity to aquatic organisms, the POCER exceedence factor values for the environment were reduced approximately by a sixth when GLY or GLU is used alone. However, the environmental impact of novel herbicide regimes tested may be underestimated due to the assumption that active ingredients used with GMHR maize would be used alone. Data retrieved from literature suggest that weed control efficacy is increased and resistance development delayed when GLY or GLU is used together with other herbicides in the GMHR system. Due to the partial instead of complete replacement of currently used herbicide regimes, the beneficial environmental impact of novel herbicide regimes might sometimes be reduced or counterbalanced. Despite the high weed control efficacy provided by the biotechnology-based weed management strategy, neither indirect harmful effects on farmland biodiversity through losses in food resources and shelter, nor shifts in weed communities have been demonstrated in GMHR maize yet. However, with the increasing adoption rate of GMHR maize and their associated novel herbicide regimes, this situation is expected to change in the short-term.


Biotechnology-based weed management; strategy; Herbicide regimes; Glyphosate; Glufosinate-ammonium; Genetically modified; herbicide-resistant maize; Transgenic maize


Funding source
  • Not reported
Funding country
  • Not reported
Funding type
  • Not reported

Links to outside analysis of this resource

Please contact us if you know of an independent summary or analysis of this resource.

Cite this study


Devos, Y, M Cougnon, S Vergucht, R Bulcke, G Haesaert, W Steurbaut, D Reheul. "Environmental impact of herbicide regimes used with genetically modified herbicide-resistant maize." Transgenic Research 17.6 (2008): 1059-1077. Web. 22 Jun. 2024.


Devos, Y., Cougnon, M., Vergucht, S., Bulcke, R., Haesaert, G., Steurbaut, W., & Reheul, D. (2008). Environmental impact of herbicide regimes used with genetically modified herbicide-resistant maize. Transgenic Research, 17(6), 1059-1077. doi:10.1007/s11248-008-9181-8

Please verify citations before use, citations are automatically generated based on information stored within the GENERA database and therefore may or may not be correct.