Crop cultivars with allelopathic capability


Wu Farrer Centre for Conservation Farming, Charles Sturt University and CRC for Weed Management Systems, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2678, Australia. Tel: (+61) 2 6933 2749; Fax: (+61) 2 6933 2812; E-mail:


Allelopathy has potential in integrated weed management. Crop plants have the capability to produce and exude allelochemicals into their surroundings to suppress the growth of weeds in their vicinity. Selection for superior genotypes with allelopathic potential has been carried out in several field crops, and evidence has accumulated that crop cultivars differ significantly in their ability to inhibit the growth of certain weed species. To date, progress has been made in understanding the genetics of crop allelopathic activity, and successful genetic manipulation of this trait has also been demonstrated. However, much more research needs to be carried out in order to have a thorough understanding of the genetic control of allelopathic activity. Several genes might be involved in regulating the production and exudation of allelochemicals. Concerted efforts using advances in plant biotechnology will help to unveil the genetics of this trait. Once the allelopathic genes have been located, a breeding programme could be initiated to transfer the genes into modern cultivars to enhance their allelopathic activity for weed suppression, thereby reducing over-reliance on herbicides.