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Keywords:

  • strigolactones;
  • germination stimulants;
  • root parasitic plants;
  • control strategies

Abstract

Parasitic weeds cause severe damage to important agricultural crops. Although some promising control methods against these parasitic plants have been developed, new strategies continue to be relevant in integrated approaches. The life cycle for root parasitic weeds is intimately associated with their host and is a suitable target for such new control strategies, particularly when directed at the early stages of the host–parasite interaction. Here, the authors focus on knowledge of the germination stimulants—strigolactones—for the root parasitic plants Striga and Orobanche spp. and discuss their biosynthetic origin, ecological significance and physiological and biochemical regulation. In addition, the existing and possible new control strategies that are based on this knowledge, and that could lead to more efficient control methods against these root parasitic weeds, are reviewed. Copyright © 2008 Society of Chemical Industry