Submitted to: Soil Mineral Organic Matter Microorganisms Interactions & Ecosystem Health
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/18/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Allelochemicals are secondary metabolites exuded by plants to protect themselves from adverse environmental conditions and from invasion of surrounding plants and microbes. These chemicals are, by nature, biologically reactive. They are exuded from roots into the surrounding soil (i.e., the rhizosphere), and they interact actively with both the mineral and organic components of the soil. Because of their reactivity, they could be ideal compounds for characterizing the dynamics of the active phase of soil organic matter transformation and the processes of carbon immobilization (or sequestration) and humification. However, the high reactivity of these chemicals also means that they are unstable and could be readily degraded or transformed into other types of chemicals. Thus, even though the biological phenomenon of allelopathy has been reported extensively in the literature (e.g., Rice, 1984), the identity of most of the chemicals involved in allelopathy (i.e., allelochemicals) still has no been determined with certainty. Thus, before allelochemicals can serve as model chemicals for studying the interaction of organic chemicals with minerals, organic mater, and living organisms, there is need to understand the behavior and fate of these chemicals in the soil.