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Journal Articles (Review Article) Advances in Weed Science Year : 2022

From sea salt to glyphosate salt: a history of herbicide use in France


Herbicide use has deeply changed weed management and cultivation practices in France as well as round the world. However, the use of herbicides is more and more questioned, so that it appeared interesting to us to take stock of herbicide use in France. Since 1913, it has been possible to reconstruct the marketing and withdrawal of all the herbicidal active substances used in cultivated plots. Developed to compensate for the lack of manpower, chemical weed control started at the end of the 19th century with the use of mineral molecules. While copper sulfate can be considered as the first active substance with which technical experiments were carried out, sulfuric acid was the molecule that saw the greatest development because of its efficiency. The discovery of active substances in the United States and Great Britain during World War II allowed for the development of selective weed control, first for eudicotyledonous plants and then for grasses. In France, a total of 233 active substances have been authorized either alone or in combinations. Active substances have been used for more than 27 years on average, but 2,4-D and MCPA have been used continuously for more than 75 years. The effects of these molecules on the environment and health are responsible for most of the questions about their use. The withdrawal of key molecules could soon call into question the very effectiveness of weed control and perhaps put an end to an agronomic innovation that has been in use for nearly one hundred years.

Dates and versions

hal-03769152 , version 1 (05-09-2022)



Bruno Chauvel, Christian Gauvrit, Jean-Philippe Guillemin. From sea salt to glyphosate salt: a history of herbicide use in France. Advances in Weed Science, 2022, 40 (special 1), ⟨10.51694/AdvWeedSci/2022;40:seventy-five008⟩. ⟨hal-03769152⟩
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