Plant circadian rhythms regulate the effectiveness of a glyphosate-based herbicide.

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Herbicides increase crop yields by allowing weed control and harvest management. Glyphosate is the most widely-used herbicide active ingredient, with $11 billion spent annually on glyphosate-containing products applied to >350 million hectares worldwide, using about 8.6 billion kg of glyphosate. The herbicidal effectiveness of glyphosate can depend upon the time of day of spraying. Here, we show that the plant circadian clock regulates the effectiveness of glyphosate. We identify a daily and circadian rhythm in the inhibition of plant development by glyphosate, due to interaction between glyphosate activity, the circadian oscillator and potentially auxin signalling. We identify that the circadian clock controls the timing and extent of glyphosate-induced plant cell death. Furthermore, the clock controls a rhythm in the minimum effective dose of glyphosate. We propose the concept of agricultural chronotherapy, similar in principle to chronotherapy in medical practice. Our findings provide a platform to refine agrochemical use and development, conferring future economic and environmental benefits.