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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Plant and Environment Interactions

Occurrence and Fate of the Phytotoxin Juglone in Alley Soils under Black Walnut Trees


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 36 No. 3, p. 709-717
    Received: June 16, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): lslee@purdue.edu
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  1. Guntram R. von Kiparskia,
  2. Linda S. Lee *b and
  3. Andrew R. Gillespiea
  1. a Dep. of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN 47907-2051. G.R. von Kiparski, current address, Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, Lawrence Livermore National Lab., Livermore, CA 94550-2051
    b Dep. of Agronomy, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, IN 47907-2054


Juglone (5-hydroxy-1,4-napthoquinone) is a chemical released by walnut trees, which can be toxic at various levels to several plant species. A balance among competing source and sink mechanisms and rates will ultimately determine whether juglone is capable of attaining sufficient levels to be allelopathic to intercrops in a walnut tree agroforestry system. In this study, juglone's release, accumulation, and decline in soil are explored using data from soil beneath a black walnut tree (Juglans nigra L) alley cropping system, greenhouse pot studies, and laboratory sorption/degradation studies. Juglone pore water concentrations estimated from extracts of surficial soil from beneath the alley cropping system exceeded the lowest solution culture toxicity levels reported for some plants of 10−7 M, but did not exceed the inhibition threshold reported for typical intercrops such as maize and soybeans 10−5 M Further assessment of the likely persistence of juglone in soils indicated that juglone is both microbially and abiotically degraded, and that it will be particularly short-lived in soils supporting microbial activity. However, walnut seedlings planted in sand-filled pots clearly showed that juglone is released in measurable quantities to the soil's rhizosphere. Therefore, juglone accumulation in low fertility soils is plausible, and may still be worthy of consideration in management of alley agroforestry systems.

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