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Keywords:

  • allelopathy;
  • Myriophyllum verticillatum;
  • PAM-fluorometry;
  • photosynthesis;
  • shallow lakes;
  • submerged macrophytes

The potential allelopathic impact of Myriophyllum verticillatum L. under in situ conditions was determined in a series of field and laboratory experiments. Coexistence experiments were performed in a lake dominated by M. verticillatum (Van Goor) Meffert where we exposed three unialgal phytoplankton cultures in dialysis tubes to macrophyte exudates regularly during the vegetated period. Plant content and exudation of polyphenolic compounds were determined, and the inhibitory activity of polyphenol-containing extracts was tested in bioassays with cyanobacteria. To account for possible resource interference, we monitored growth and photosynthesis of phosphorus-limited and unlimited cyanobacterium Limnothrix redekei in dialysis tubes exposed to M. verticillatum in aquaria.

A high allelopathic potential of M. verticillatum was concluded from high tissue concentrations of total phenolic compounds of 6%–12% of dry matter, the demonstrated release of bioactive polyphenols into the surrounding medium, and the inhibition of cyanobacteria by extracts. We could not unambiguously demonstrate the exudation of polyphenols by M. verticillatum in situ due to interference with allochthonous humic compounds. In laboratory experiments, L. redekei exhibited significantly reduced maximum relative electron transport rates when co-cultivated in dialysis tubes with M. verticillatum. The field dialysis tube experiment confirmed this result, accompanied by a decline of chl a and PSII activity for L. redekei and the diatom Stephanodiscus minutulus (Kütz.) Greve et Möller, but not for the green alga Scenedesmus armatus Chodat in August. At other times, either no effects or stimulatory effects were observed with all species. Nutrient limitation of the target species may have masked allelopathic effects, and M. verticillatum may have enhanced phytoplankton growth due to phosphorus leakage.