, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 167-177


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Defatted field pennycress (Thlaspi arvense L.) seedmeal was found to completely inhibit seedling germination/emergence when added to a sandy loam soil containing wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and arugula [Eruca vesicaria (L.) Cav. subsp. sativa (Mill.) Thell.] seeds at levels of 1.0% w/w or higher. Covering the pots with Petri dishes containing the soil-seedmeal mixture decreased germination of both species at the lowest application rate (0.5% w/w), suggesting that the some of the phytotoxins were volatile. CH2Cl2, MeOH, and water extracts of the wetted seedmeal were bioassayed against wheat and sicklepod (Senna obtusifolia (L.) H. S. Irwin & Barneby) radicle elongation. Only the CH2Cl2 extract was strongly inhibitory to both species. Fractionation of the CH2Cl2 extract yielded two major phytotoxins, identified by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry and NMR as 2-propen-1-yl (allyl) isothiocyanate (AITC) and allyl thiocyanate (ATC), which constituted 80.9 and 18.8%, respectively, of the active fraction. When seeds of wheat, arugula and sicklepod were exposed to volatilized AITC and ATC, germination of all three species was completely inhibited by both compounds at concentrations of 5 ppm or less. In field studies, where seedmeal was applied at 0.50, 1.25, and 2.50 kg/m2 and tarped with black plastic mulch, all of the treatments significantly reduced dry weight of bioassay plants compared to the tarped control, with the highest seedmeal rate decreasing dry matter to less than 10% of the control 30 d after seedmeal application. Field pennycress seedmeal appears to offer excellent potential as a biofumigant for high-value horticultural crops for both conventional and organic growers.

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