Plant and Soil

, Volume 70, Issue 2, pp 257–272 | Cite as

The organic acid composition of Calluna heathland soil with special reference to phyto- and fungitoxicity

I. Isolation and identification of organic acids
  • M. A. F. Jalal
  • D. J. Read


A number of ‘free’ phenolic and simple fatty acid compounds of potentially high phytotoxicity have been isolated from Calluna heathland soil and identified by GC and GC-MS methods. Amongst these the aromatic acids o-hydroxybenzoic (salicylic), p-methoxybenzoic and benzoic acid are reported for the first time in ‘free’ form in soil, as are the fatty acids octanoic (caprylic), and decanoic (capric) acid both of which occur mostly in the hydroxy form. These short chain (C8 and C10) acids are known to have particularly strong phytotoxic properties. Hydroxynonanoic (pelargonic) acid was also extracted and identified. In addition to being phytotoxic these compounds have strong fungitoxic properties. Their potential effects in Calluna heathland soils are discussed from a physiological and ecological viewpoint.

Key words

Aliphatic acids Aromatic acids Calluna Decanoic acid Fungitoxicity Heathland Mycorrhiza Nonanoic acid Octanoic acid Phytotoxicity 


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. A. F. Jalal
    • 1
  • D. J. Read
    • 1
  1. 1.Botany DepartmentThe University of SheffieldSheffieldUK

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