Research Article

Genetic damage in Mexican and South American sweet corn varieties due to the herbicides nicosulfuron and topramezone

Published: May 21, 2019
Genet. Mol. Res. 18(2): GMR18159 DOI: 10.4238/gmr18159


In order to facilitate corn production, herbicides such as nicosulfuron and topramezone are commonly used. Though they offer great advantages, they can affect crop productivity and induce DNA damage. The genotoxic activity of nicosulfuron was evaluated at two concentrations (40,000 and 80,000 ppm) and topramezone at four concentrations (1480, 148, 14.8 and 1.48 ppm) respectively, in sweet corn and hybrid accessions from Mexico and South America using a comet assay system. Sweet corn apical meristematic cell nuclei were tested in 113 accessions from Mexico and South America and five commercial hybrids for nicosulfuron and nine accessions and a hybrid for topramezone. Both nicosulfuron concentrations induced significant genetic damage to sweet corn and normal hybrids. Topramezone showed significant genotoxic activity in both sweet corn and normal hybrids. Normal hybrid corn was subject to genetic damage caused by the herbicides, and all showed significant genetic damage compared to their corresponding untreated controls. Genotoxic activity of nicosulfuron and topramezone was evident; additionally, the comet assay study demonstrated that corn can be used as a biomonitor for genotoxicity assessment.