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ARS Home » Plains Area » Miles City, Montana » Livestock and Range Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #389372

Research Project: Development of Management Strategies for Livestock Grazing, Disturbance and Climate Variation for the Northern Plains

Location: Livestock and Range Research Laboratory

Title: Roots of invasive woody plants produce more diverse flavonoids than non-invasive taxa, a global analysis

item BORDA, VALENTINA - Universidad Nacional De Cordoba
item Reinhart, Kurt
item ORTEGA, MARIA - Universidad Nacional De Cordoba
item BURNI, MAGALI - Universidad Nacional De Cordoba
item URCELAY, CARLOS - Universidad Nacional De Cordoba

Submitted to: Biological Invasions
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/17/2022
Publication Date: 5/9/2022
Citation: Borda, V., Reinhart, K.O., Ortega, M., Burni, M., Urcelay, C. 2022. Roots of invasive woody plants produce more diverse flavonoids than non-invasive taxa, a global analysis. Biological Invasions.

Interpretive Summary: Problem – Predicting which woody plant species will be invasive is difficult. Plant traits are often used to predict the degree of woody plant invasiveness. Little is known about whether root traits may be useful indicators of plant invasiveness. Accomplishment – The root chemical flavonols are likely indicators of invasive status.

Technical Abstract: Biological invasions constitute a significant environmental problem. Invasive plants, particularly woody ones, cause significant ecological and economic losses. However, for many organisms the mechanisms underlying invasion processes are unknown. There is evidence that some plant traits can be indicators of the degree of invasiveness of woody plants. However, root characters, such as the quantity and diversity of secondary metabolites, have been poorly studied. Flavonoids are widely distributed metabolites in plants and are involved in important biological interactions that take place in the soil. They have been related to increases in defense against pathogens, communication with mutualistic organisms, particularly with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and nitrogen fixing bacteria, and with allelopathic effects on neighboring plants. If flavonoids are costly to produce and/or implicated in novel interactions established by successful woody invaders, we could expect invasive species to produce unique flavonoids compared to non-invasive ones. We assessed the literature to evaluate whether the production of flavonoids in roots vary among woody invasive and non-invasive species. Specifically, we tested the effect of invasive status on flavonoid richness, composition, and abundance in roots. We also assessed for indicator flavonoids whose presence and abundance reflect the invasive status. Invasive woody species had higher flavonoid richness in roots than non-invasive, particularly within the chemical subgroups flavonols and flavones. Flavonols are likely indicators of invasive status. Further experimental testing is needed to uncover whether the identity and diversity of these secondary chemicals mediates the success of woody invasive species and underground biological interactions.