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Allelopathic effect of itchgrass (Rottboellia cochinchinensis) on seed germination and plant growth

Authors


  • Communicated by H. Kato.

*Tosapon Pornprom, Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, Kasetsart University, Kamphaeng Saen Campus, Nakhon Pathom 73140, Thailand.
Email: agrtpp@ku.ac.th

Abstract

Herbicides produce a wide range of toxic side-effects that pose a potential hazard to the environment. The development of natural allelochemicals is one method of addressing these issues. Here, we describe the allelopathic activity of itchgrass (Rottboellia cochinchinensis), which can inhibit the seed germination and growth of weeds. Farmers in Lampang, northern Thailand, have been cultivating itchgrass and using it as a mulching material to control other weeds in vegetable fields. It has long been observed that itchgrass interferes with the growth of other plants. This study showed that the density of weed species in the itchgrass-infested areas was lower than that in the itchgrass-uninfested areas. The shoot and root growth of Bidens pilosa, Mimosa pudica, Ageratum conyzoides, Echinochloa crus-galli, Oryza sativa var. RD 6, and Lactuca sativa var. OP were significantly reduced in soil previously planted with itchgrass. Water-soluble extracts from all parts of itchgrass had inhibitory effects on the growth of some test plants. Allelochemicals from itchgrass can inhibit seed germination and plant growth better at a 1 cm distance than at a 3 cm and 5 cm distance from itchgrass. Our results suggest that itchgrass has a strong competitive ability and possible allelopathic activity to other plant species. The allelopathic activity of itchgrass in the soil can influence the germination of adjacent species, causing reduced growth of seedlings.

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