Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 643-654

First online:

Possible allelopathic constituents ofCoffea arabica

  • Chang -Hung ChouAffiliated withInstitute of Botany, Academia Sinica
  • , George R. WallerAffiliated withDepartment of Biochemistry, Oklahoma State University

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The aqueous extracts of leaves, stems, and roots ofCoffea arabica significantly inhibited the seed germination and radicle growth of rye grass, lettuce, and fescue. When the extracts were diluted to 1% solution, significant suppression of lettuce growth was still found and was particularly pronounced in the extract of young seedlings. The paper chromato-gram of the ether fraction of an aqueous extract of coffee leaves was bioassayed with lettuce seeds and revealed a remarkable inhibition throughout the chromatogram except for the segment ofR f 0.00–0.12. Paper without spotting extract was used as a standard. The phytotoxins present in coffee tissue were identified by paper and thin-layer chro-matography and mass spectrometry. The compounds include caffeine, theobromine, theophylline, paraxanthine, scopoletin, and chlorogenic, ferulic,p-coumaric,p-hydroxybenzoic, caffeic, and vanillic acids. All compounds except caffeic acid exhibited significant phytotoxicity to lettuce growth at a concentration of 100 ppm.

Key words

Coffea arabica allelopathy caffeine theobromine theophylline paraxanthine scopoletin chlorogenic acid vanillic acid p-hydroxybenzoic acid caffeic acid ferulic acid p-coumaric acid