Phenolics are one of the many secondary metabolites implicated in allelopathy. To establish that allelopathy functions in a natural ecosystem, the allelopathic bioassay must be ecologically realistic so that responses of appropriate bioassay species are determined at relevant concentrations. It is important to isolate, identify, and characterize phenolic compounds from the soil. However, since it is essentially impossible to simulate exact field conditions, experiments must be designed with conditions resembling those found in natural systems. It is argued that allelopathic potential of phenolics can be appreciated only when we have a good understanding of 1) species responses to phenolic allelochemicals, 2) methods for extraction and isolation of phenolic allelochemicals, and 3) how abiotic and biotic factors affect phenolic toxicity.
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