Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 369–387

Identification and phytotoxic activity of compounds produced during decomposition of corn and rye residues in soil

  • Chang-Hung Chou
  • Z. A. Patrick

DOI: 10.1007/BF00988283

Cite this article as:
Chou, CH. & Patrick, Z.A. J Chem Ecol (1976) 2: 369. doi:10.1007/BF00988283


Residues from corn and rye plants were allowed to decompose in soil for periods up to 30 days at 22–23 °C, and the identity of some of the compounds produced as well as their relative phytotoxicity to lettuce seed and seedlings were determined. Paper, thin-layer, and gas chromatography were the principal methods used to identify the various compounds formed. The identities were confirmed by comparison with known synthetic compounds. Eighteen compounds were identified in the decomposing corn residues. Of these, salicylaldehyde, and butyric, phenylacetic, and 4-phenylbutyric acids were “volatile”, and benzoic,p-hydroxybenzoic, vanillic, ferulic,o-coumaric,o-hydroxyphenylacetic, salicylic, syringic,p-coumaric,trans-cinnamic, and caffeic acids were “not volatile”. Resorcinol,p-hydroxybenzaldehyde, and phloroglucinol were also found. In the decomposing rye residues, nine compounds were identified, including vanillic, ferulic, phenylacetic, 4-phenylbutyric,p-coumaric,p-hydroxybenzoic, salicylic, ando-coumaric acids, and salicylaldehyde. In the lettuce seed bioassay, most of the above compounds from corn and rye decomposition products exhibited some phytotoxicity. Phenylacetic, 4-phenylbutyric, salicylic, benzoic, ando-hydroxyphenylacetic acids were highly inhibitory to the growth of lettuce at concentrations between 25 and 50 ppm. The others reduced growth significantly at 100 ppm. Most of the phototoxic spots were located in theRf0.37–0.97 zone when developed in 2% acetic acid solvent.

Key words

decomposing residuesphytotoxic activityphytotoxinallelopathyryecornphenolic acids

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chang-Hung Chou
    • 1
  • Z. A. Patrick
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of BotanyAcademia SinicaTaipeiTaiwan, Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of BotanyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Institute of BotanyAcademia SinicaNankang, TaipeiTaiwan, Republic of China
  4. 4.Department of BotanyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada