Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 97, Issue 13, pp 5659–5668 | Cite as

Unravelling the beneficial role of microbial contributors in reducing the allelopathic effects of weeds

  • Sandhya Mishra
  • Ram Sanmukh Upadhyay
  • Chandra Shekhar Nautiyal


The field of allelopathy is one of the most fascinating but controversial processes in plant ecology that offers an exciting, interdisciplinary, complex, and challenging study. In spite of the established role of soil microbes in plant health, their role has also been consolidated in studies of allelopathy. Moreover, allelopathy can be better understood by incorporating soil microbial ecology that determines the relevance of allelopathy phenomenon. Therefore, while discussing the role of allelochemicals in plant–plant interactions, the dynamic nature of soil microbes should not be overlooked. The occurrence and toxicity of allelochemicals in soil depend on various factors, but the type of microflora in the surroundings plays a crucial role because it can interfere with its allelopathic nature. Such microbes could be of prime importance for biological control management of weeds reducing the cost and ill effects of chemical herbicides. Among microbes, our main focus is on bacteria—as they are dominant among other microbes and are being used for enhancing crop production for decades—and fungi. Hence, to refer to both bacteria and fungi, we have used the term microbes. This review discusses the beneficial role of microbes in reducing the allelopathic effects of weeds. The review is mainly focused on various functions of bacteria in (1) reducing allelopathic inhibition caused by weeds to reduce crop yield loss, (2) building inherent defense capacity in plants against allelopathic weed, and (3) deciphering beneficial rhizospheric process such as chemotaxis/biofilm, degradation of toxic allelochemicals, and induced gene expression.


Allelopathy Soil microbes Allelochemicals Weed Biological control 



The study was supported by Task Force grant NWP-006 from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi, India awarded to CSN. SM thanked CSIR for awarding Senior Research Fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandhya Mishra
    • 1
  • Ram Sanmukh Upadhyay
    • 2
  • Chandra Shekhar Nautiyal
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Plant Microbe InteractionsCSIR-National Botanical Research InstituteLucknowIndia
  2. 2.Department of BotanyBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia

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