Allelopathic Interactions Involving Phenolic Acids

U. Blum


A major concern regarding allelopathic interactions involving phenolic acids in no-till systems pertains to the fact that concentrations of individual phenolic acids recoverable from field soils are well below levels required for inhibition of germination and seedling growth in laboratory bioassays. Field soils contain a variety of phenolic acids as well as other toxic and nontoxic organic compounds that are available to interact with seeds and roots; whereas in laboratory bioassays, with few exceptions, single phenolic acids have been tested. Studies of mixtures of phenolic acids and other toxic (e.g., methionine) and nontoxic (e.g., glucose) organic compounds in laboratory bioassays indicate that the action of a single phenolic acid is not representative of the actions of such mixtures. Specifically, as the number of phenolic acids added to soil increased, concentrations of the individual phenolic acids required to bring about a growth inhibition declined. The addition of other organic compounds (e.g., glucose, methionine) to the soil also reduced the concentration of a phenolic acid (e.g., p-coumaric acid) required for growth inhibition. These results support the hypothesis that in the field mixtures of phenolic acids and other organic compounds can cause inhibitory effects even though the concentrations of individual compounds are well below their inhibitory levels. Key words: allelopathy, Cucumis sativus, glucose, Ipomoea hederacea, joint action analysis, methionine, modified logistic equation, multiplicative analysis, phenolic acid, seedling growth.

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