Evaluation of putative allelochemicals in rice root exudates for their role in the suppression of arrowhead root growth

Alexa Seal, Terrence Haig, James Pratley

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87 Citations (Scopus)


In previous studies, 15 putative allelopathic compounds detected in rice root exudates were quantified by GC/MS/MS. In this study, multiple regression analysis on these compounds determined that five selected phenolics, namely caffeic, p-hydroxybenzoic, vanillic, syringic, and p-coumaric acids, from rice exudates were best correlated with the observed allelopathic effect on arrowhead (Sagittaria montevidensis) root growth. Despite this positive association, determination of the phenolic acid dose-response curve established that the amount quantified in the exudates was much lower than the required threshold concentration for arrowhead inhibition. A similar dose-response curve resulted from a combination of all 15 quantified compounds. Significant differences between the amounts of trans-ferulic acid, abietic acid, and an indole also existed between allelopathic and non-allelopathic rice cultivars. The potential roles of these three compounds in rice allelopathy were examined by chemoassay. Overall, neither the addition of trans-ferulic acid nor 5-hydroxyindole-3-acetic acid to the phenolic mix significantly contributed to phytotoxicity, although at higher concentrations, trans-ferulic acid appeared to act antagonistically to the phytotoxic effects of the phenolic mix. The addition of abietic acid also decreased the inhibitory effect of the phenolic mix. These studies indicate that the compounds quantified are not directly responsible for the observed allelopathic response. It is possible that the amount of phenolic acids may be indirectly related to the chemicals finally responsible for the observed allelopathic effect.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1663-1678
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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