Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 961–972 | Cite as

Allelopathic properties of α-terthienyl and phenylheptatriyne, naturally occurring compounds from species of asteraceae

  • Glen Campbell
  • John D. H. Lambert
  • Thor Arnason
  • G. H. Neil Towers


Alpha-terthienyl (α-T), a naturally occurring polyacetylene derivative from roots ofTagetes erecta L., and phenylheptatriyne (PHT), from leaves ofBidens pilosa L., were tested as possible allelopathic agents against four seedling species (Asclepias syriaca L.,Chenopodium album L.,Phleum pratense L.,Trifolium pratense L.).Asclepias was the most sensitive of the species. Allelopathic activity was enhanced in the presence of sunlight or sources of near-UV, with LC50s forA. syriaca of 0.15 ppm and 0.66 ppm with α-T and PHT, respectively; 0.27 and 0.85 forC. album; 0.79 and 1.43 forP. pratense, and 1.93 and 1.82 forT. pratense. Near-UV exposure was saturating but never more than found in summer sunlight at Ottawa, Canada. Growth inhibition was observed with seedlings treated with α-T and PHT but without near-UV irradiation. Germination of seedlings was also sensitive to α-T and PHT with or without near-UV treatment. α-T was extracted from soil surrounding the roots ofTagetes. Concentrations calculated for the soil (0.4 ppm) indicate that seedling growth could be significantly hindered. The activity and specificity of α-T was sufficiently high to warrant future field trials to assess its potential as a natural weed-control agent.

Key words

Allelopathy α-terthienyl phenylheptatriyne Asclepias syriaca L. Chenopodium album L. Phleum pratense L. Trifolium pratense L. Tagetes erecta L. Bidenspilosa L. Asteraceae soil compounds 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Arnason, J.T., Wat, C.K., Graham, E.A., Downum, K., Towers, G.H.N., andLam, J. 1980. Photosensitization ofE. coli andS. cereviciae by phenylheptatriyne fromBidens pilosa. Can.J. Microbiol. 26:698–705.Google Scholar
  2. Arnason, J.T., Stein, J., Graham, E., Wat, C.K., andTowers, G.H.N. 1981a. The effect of polyacetylenes on selected marine and freshwater algae.Can. J. Bot. 59:54–58.Google Scholar
  3. Arnason, J.T., Wat, C.K., Partington, S., Lam, J., Swain, T., andTowers, G.H.N. 1981b. Mosquito larvicides from polyacetylenes occurring naturally in the Asteraceae.Biochem. Syst. Ecol. 9:63–67.Google Scholar
  4. Bohlmann, F., Burkhardt, T., andZdero, C. 1973. Naturally Occurring Acetylenes. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Chan, G.F.Q., Towers, G.H.N., andMitchell, J.C. 1975. UV-mediated antibiotic activity of thiophene compounds fromTagetes.Phytochemistry 14:2295–2296.Google Scholar
  6. Frankton, G. 1977. Biology and Chemistry of the Compositae. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Gommers, F.G., andGerrligs, J.W. 1973. Lethal effects of near UV light onP. penetrans from roots ofTagetes.Nematologica 19:389–393.Google Scholar
  8. Heywood, V., Harborne, J., andTurner, B.L. 1977. Biology and Chemistry of the Compositae. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  9. Ichihara, K., Kawai, T., Kaji, M.,andNoda, M. 1976.Polyacetylenes from Solidago altissima.Agric. Biol. Chem. 40:353–358.Google Scholar
  10. Kobayashi, A., Morimoto, S., Shibata, Y., Yamashita, K., andNumata, M. 1980. C10 polyacetylenes as allelopathic substances.J. Chem. Ecol. 6:119–136.Google Scholar
  11. Towers, G.H.N., andWat, C.K. 1978. Biological activity of polyacetylenes.Rev. Latinoam. Quim. 6:162–170.Google Scholar
  12. Towers, G.H.N., Wat, C.K., Graham, E.A., Chan, G.F.Q., Bandoni, R.J., Mitchell, J.C., andLam, J. 1977. UV mediated cytotoxic activity of phenylheptatriyne fromBidens pilosa.Lloydia 40:487–498.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Tukey, H.B. 1969. Implications of allelopathy in agricultural plant science.Bot. Rev. 35:1–16.Google Scholar
  14. Wat, C.K., Johns, T., andTowers, G.H.N. 1980. Phototoxic effects and antibiotic activities of plants of the Asteraceae used in folk medicine.J. Ethnopharmocol. 2:279–283.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glen Campbell
    • 1
  • John D. H. Lambert
    • 1
  • Thor Arnason
    • 2
  • G. H. Neil Towers
    • 3
  1. 1.Biology DepartmentCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Biology DepartmentUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Botany DepartmentUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

Personalised recommendations