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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Challenges, Achievements and Opportunities in Allelopathy Research

Authors
item Inderjit, - UNIV. OF DELHI, INDIA
item Weston, Leslie - CORNELL UNIVERSITY
item Duke, Stephen

Submitted to: Journal of Plant Interactions
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: February 6, 2006
Publication Date: June 1, 2006
Citation: Inderjit, Weston, L.A., Duke, S.O. 2006. Challenges, achievements and opportunities in allelopathy research. Journal of Plant Interactions. 1(2): 69-81.

Interpretive Summary: Allelopathy is defined as the suppression of any aspect of growth and/or development of one plant species by another through the release of chemical compounds. Although allelopathic interference has been demonstrated many times using in vitro studies, few studies have clearly demonstrated allelopathy in natural settings. This difficulty reflects the complexity in examining and demonstrating allelopathic interactions under field conditions. In this paper we address the following questions related to the complexity of allelopathic interference in higher plants: (i) Is a demonstrated pattern or zone of inhibition important in documenting allelopathy? (ii) Is it ecologically relevant to explain allelopathic potential of a species through the presence of a single bioactive chemical? (iii) What is the importance of the mode of allelochemical release from the plant into the environment (iv) Do soil characteristics impact allelopathic activity? (v) Is it important to exclude alternate causes? and (vi) How do new frontiers in allelopathy help in solving questions from natural and agroecosystems? A greater knowledge of plant interactions in ecologically relevant environments, as well as further study of the biochemical pathways, relevant enzymes and genes involved in production of putative allelochemicals, the methods of allelochemical release into the soil and their persistence over time in the soil rhizosphere, the molecular target sites of allelochemicals in sensitive plant species and in vivo interactions of these compounds with other organisms will help to provide the basis for improved understanding of the role of allelopathy in agricultural and natural settings. This review will also address the challenges and major achievements in recent studies of allelopathic interference.

Technical Abstract: Allelopathy is defined as the suppression of any aspect of growth and/or development of one plant species by another through the release of chemical compounds. Although allelopathic interference has been demonstrated many times using in vitro studies, few studies have clearly demonstrated allelopathy in natural settings. This difficulty reflects the complexity in examining and demonstrating allelopathic interactions under field conditions. In this paper we address the following questions related to the complexity of allelopathic interference in higher plants: (i) Is a demonstrated pattern or zone of inhibition important in documenting allelopathy? (ii) Is it ecologically relevant to explain allelopathic potential of a species through the presence of a single bioactive chemical? (iii) What is the importance of the mode of allelochemical release from the plant into the environment (iv) Do soil characteristics impact allelopathic activity? (v) Is it important to exclude alternate causes? and (vi) How do new frontiers in allelopathy help in solving questions from natural and agroecosystems? A greater knowledge of plant interactions in ecologically relevant environments, as well as further study of the biochemical pathways, relevant enzymes and genes involved in production of putative allelochemicals, the methods of allelochemical release into the soil and their persistence over time in the soil rhizosphere, the molecular target sites of allelochemicals in sensitive plant species and in vivo interactions of these compounds with other organisms will help to provide the basis for improved understanding of the role of allelopathy in agricultural and natural settings. This review will also address the challenges and major achievements in recent studies of allelopathic interference.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014