Complex synergistic interactions among volatile and phenolic compounds underlie the effectiveness of allelopathic residues added to the soil for weed control
UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER: http://hdl.handle.net/11093/3604
EDITED VERSION: https://www.mdpi.com/2223-7747/11/9/1114
DOCUMENT TYPE: article
The introduction of allelopathic cover crops for green manuring or mulching is a regular practice in Integrated Weed Management. In this context, the alternative use of the abundant phytotoxic residues of allelopathic plants from the agroecosystem, e.g., the foliage of Eucalyptus, Acacia, or Cytisus species, is promising. Previous studies identified the phytotoxic compounds potentially involved in the effectiveness of some plant residues when added to the soil for weed control. The low quantities of allelochemicals present in the tissues and the weak phytotoxicity of each of them in their natural concentrations did not explain the significant levels of weed control observed at field scale. Here, to study hypothetical synergistic interactions among the volatile (VOCs) and water-soluble compounds released to the soil matrix, complex mixtures of VOCs, phenolics, or both, mimicking the chemical profiles of Cytisus scoparius were prepared and then tested in vitro on the germination and early growth of two weeds. The effects were calibrated against the VOCs naturally emitted by the fresh plant material and aqueous extract, acting together or not, and with or without soil. The presence of the aqueous extract significantly increased the phytotoxicity of VOCs on Amaranthus retroflexus root growth compared to the volatiles emitted alone. In addition, the soil factor enhanced synergistic interactions among VOCs and water-soluble compounds, resulting in a 54% decrease in total germination and an 80% inhibition of root and shoot growth. Multi-level synergistic chemical interactions should explain the bioherbicidal effectiveness of allelopathic residues applied as a soil amendment.
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