October 05, 2009
Image of Glyphosate 3D Image of Glyphosate

Glyphosate, or N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine, was originally developed as a corrosion inhibitor, but it has been the world’s most widely used herbicide for almost 40 years. Monsanto patented it in the early 1970s and began to sell it under the trade name Roundup. More recently, the company developed glyphosate-resistant transgenic crop seeds. But competition has hurt Roundup, and Monsanto has announced cutbacks associated with this business unit.

MOTW update: November 27, 2017

For decades, glyphosate has been a widely used herbicide, but in recent years pesticide applicators have claimed that exposure to it caused non-Hodgkins lymphoma. This past week, however, the results of a study on 54,000 workers showed that there is no significant association between glyphosate exposure and cancer—with the possible exception of multiple myeloma, which may the the focus of future studies.

MOTW update:
December 4, 2023

Glyphosate1 was the Molecule of the Week for October 5, 2009. It has been a widely used broadleaf herbicide for more than 40 years. In the 2010s, it was suspected of causing non-Hodgkins lymphoma in farm workers; but in 2017, a long-term, 54,000 subject study found no connection between glyphosate use and cancer. Last month, the European Commission announced that glyphosate can remain on the market in the European Union for 10 years with new restrictions, including a ban on use of the chemical to dry crops before harvest and measures to protect nontarget species.

1. CAS Reg. No. 1071-83-6.

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