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J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Jan 26;53(2):250-61.

Differential exudation of two benzoxazinoids--one of the determining factors for seedling allelopathy of Triticeae species.

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Department of Weed Science, Institute of Phytomedicine 360, University of Hohenheim, D-70593 Stuttgart, Germany.


Benzoxazinoids (Bx) are natural phytotoxins that function as chemical defense compounds in several species. The release of Bx by intact plant roots associated these compounds with root allelopathy in Triticeae species; however, the significance of exudate concentrations of Bx for plant-plant interactions is still a controversial question. A biological screening of 146 cultivars of four Triticeae species (Triticum aestivum L., Triticum durum Desf., Triticum spelta L., and Secale cereale L.) demonstrated a high cultivar dependence to suppress the root growth of Sinapis alba L. by root allelopathy in a dose-response bioassay. Only a few cultivars possessed a marked high or low allelopathic activity, whereby high-performance liquid chromatography-diode array detection analysis of root exudates revealed that these cultivars differed considerably in their ability to exude the two Bx aglucones, DIBOA [2,4-dihydroxy-2H-1,4-benzoxazin-3(4H)-one] and DIMBOA [2,4-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-2H-1,4-benzoxazin-3(4H)-one]. The total amount of DIBOA and DIMBOA exuded showed a significant correlation to the growth inhibition in bioassay with a statistically estimated contribution to the overall allelopathic effect of 48-72%. In a bioassay with pure phytotoxins, Bx concentrations consistent with the amounts quantified in the screening bioassay caused detrimental effects on S. alba and almost reproduced the statistically estimated contribution. The observed causal association between the allelopathic activity under laboratory conditions and the exudate concentrations of Bx suggests that this association might have implications for the interference of Triticeae species in natural plant communities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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