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Pest Manag Sci. 2014 Feb;70(2):252-7. doi: 10.1002/ps.3550. Epub 2013 Jun 20.

Herbicidal activity of formulated sorgoleone, a natural product of sorghum root exudate.

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Department of Crop Science, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Chungnam National University, 99 Daehangno, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, 305-764, Korea.



The allelochemical sorgoleone, a major component of the hydrophobic root exudates of Sorghum bicolor, was formulated as a wettable powder [4.6 WP] and evaluated as a natural herbicide on several weed and crop species under different growth conditions.


Formulated sorgoleone [4.6 WP] suppressed germination and shoot growth of weeds, with broadleaf species showing greater susceptibility than grass weed species. Germination and growth of broadleaf weed species were completely suppressed (100%) at 0.2 g a.i. L(-1) sorgoleone in a growth chamber study. Post-emergence applications of the wettable formulation of sorgoleone [4.6 WP] inhibited 20-25% higher growth of weeds than pre-emergence applications under greenhouse conditions. Broadleaf weeds were more susceptible than grass species to both methods of application. In all studies, growth was suppressed in more than 90% of the broadleaf weeds and two species, in particular, Rumex japonicus and Plantago asiatica, were completely suppressed at 0.4 kg a.i. ha(-1) sorgoleone. The crop species, on the other hand, were much more tolerant to sorgoleone, with 30% inhibition, at most, at the highest rate of 0.4 kg a.i. ha(-1) sorgoleone.


The results of this study reveal that sorgoleone, after formulation as a WP, is more effective in inhibiting weed growth, and crop species are tolerant to it. The strong weed suppressive ability of formulated sorgoleone therefore offers interesting possibilities as an effective natural environment-friendly approach for weed management.


allelochemical; formulation; herbicidal activity; selectivity; sorgoleone

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