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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Chemistry and Mechanisms of Allelopathic Interactions


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 88 No. 6, p. 876-885
    Received: Feb 24, 1995

    * Corresponding author(s): d-seigler@uiuc.edu
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  1. David S. Seigler 
  1. Dep. of Plant Biology, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801.



Allelopathy, originally defined as chemically elicited interactions between plants or fungi, is mediated by many types of compounds with different sites and modes of biochemical action. Although it is possible to measure a generalized effect, it is unlikely that deeper insight into the basic mechanimas of this phenomenon will be obtained until problems are more clearly and specifically delineated. Future work should include identification of the compounds found in specific interactions and their evaluatioo in bioassay systems that use organisms actually involved in the response. A broader range of compounds and test organisms must be considered, and the biochemical sites and mechanisms of interaction must be evaluated, even for compounds that appear to be inactive. Once active compounds have been identified, their release, movement, uptake, and effects on source and target species in the allelopathic system should be examined. The effects of plant density require additional investigation. Studies in which plants are grown in various combinations and ratios can ultimately provide information about the major sources of allelopathic interaction in communities, the role of allelopathy in succession, and the nature and extent of coadaptation of organisms. Understanding the role of allclopathy in succession will require information about the chemistry and biology of interactions, and a better understanding of the ecological factors involved. Agricultural systems can supply much needed information, as they are similar to natural systems but usually are simpler and better defined. In turn, a better understanding of allelopathy is important in many phases of modern agriculture, especially in the tropics. By attacking allelopathic interactions at several organizational levels, the effects collectively known as allelopathy can be understood, even in complex natural communities. Major advancement in understanding allelopathy will be accomplished only by the combined effort of investigators from raany disciplines.

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