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Trends Ecol Evol. 2011 Dec;26(12):655-62. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2011.08.003. Epub 2011 Sep 14.

The ecosystem and evolutionary contexts of allelopathy.

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Department of Environmental Studies, Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Ecosystems-CEMDE, University of Delhi, Delhi, India.


Plants can release chemicals into the environment that suppress the growth and establishment of other plants in their vicinity: a process known as 'allelopathy'. However, chemicals with allelopathic functions have other ecological roles, such as plant defense, nutrient chelation, and regulation of soil biota in ways that affect decomposition and soil fertility. These ecosystem-scale roles of allelopathic chemicals can augment, attenuate or modify their community-scale functions. In this review we explore allelopathy in the context of ecosystem properties, and through its role in exotic invasions consider how evolution might affect the intensity and importance of allelopathic interactions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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