Seeming field allelopathic activity of Cynara cardunculus L. reduces the soil weed seed bank

  • Aurelio Scavo
  • Alessia Restuccia
  • Cristina AbbateEmail author
  • Giovanni Mauromicale
Research Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Pest control


Weeds are one of the most important pests in agroecosystems, causing considerable economic losses on the production. The widespread use of herbicides during the last decades has led to an increased search for more environmentally sustainable methods for weed management. The manipulation of allelopathic interactions between crops and weeds, such as the introduction of an allelopathic species within a crop rotation, represents a valid alternative. In a multidisciplinary approach, we evaluated the effects resulting from three consecutive years of cultivation, in two different areas, with the three botanical varieties of Cynara cardunculus L. (globe artichoke, cultivated and wild cardoon), compared with a classic Mediterranean wheat/faba bean rotation and an olive grove, on the quali/quantitative weed soil seed bank and the changes in the eubacterial communities. Furthermore, the in vitro antibacterial activity of aqueous, methanolic, and ethanolic leaf extracts of cultivated cardoon against three bacteria involved in the soil N-cycle was investigated. In both areas, C. cardunculus caused a significant reduction (from − 34 to − 50%) on the amount of weed seeds in all treatments compared to controls; in some cases, a reduction of the number of weed species was observed. On one hand, the presence of cultivated cardoon had a negative influence towards Bacillus subtilis, while on the other, a positive one towards the beneficial soil bacteria Pseudomonas putida and Azospirillum brasilense. Moreover, methanolic and ethanolic leaf extracts from cultivated cardoon showed an inhibitory activity on B. lichenoformis, while there were no negative effects on Rhizobium leguminosarum and Sinorhizobium meliloti, two important bacteria involved in biological N2 fixation. These results confirmed, for the first time, the field allelopathic activity of C. cardunculus in monoculture and the possibility of introducing it within a crop rotation as an indirect method for a chemical-free weed seed bank control while respecting soil eubacterial communities.


Cynara cardunculus Allelopathy Seed bank Weed control Crop rotation Sustainability Eubacterial communities 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Alexandre G (2017) Azospirillum brasilense, a beneficial soil bacterium: isolation and cultivation. Curr Protoc Microbiol 47(1):3E.1.1–3E.1.10. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alsaadawi IS, Sarbout AK, Al-Shamma LM (2012) Differential allelopathic potential of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) genotypes on weeds and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) crop. Arch Agron Soil Sci 58(10):1139–1148. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bellinder RR, Dillard HR, Shah DA (2004) Weed seedbank community responses to crop rotation schemes. Crop Prot 23(2):95–101. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cavers PB (1983) Seed demography. Can J Bot 61(12):3578–3590. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chee-Sanford JC, Williams MM, Davis AS, Sims GK (2006) Do microorganisms influence seed-bank dynamics? Weed Sci 54(3):575–587. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cipollini D, Rigsby CM, Barto EK (2012) Microbes as targets and mediators of allelopathy in plants. J Chem Ecol 38(6):714–727. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Dorado J, Del Monte JP, Lopez-Fando C (1999) Weed seed bank response to crop rotation and tillage in semiarid agro-ecosystems. Weed Sci 47(1):67–73 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. El Sohaimy SA (2014) Chemical composition, antioxidant and antimicrobial potential of artichoke. Open Nutraceuticals J 7:15–20. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Espinosa-Urgel M, Salido A, Ramos JL (2000) Genetic analysis of functions involved in adhesion of Pseudomonas putida to seeds. J Bacteriol 182(9):2363–2369. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Farooq M, Jabran K, Cheema ZA, Wahid A, Siddique KHM (2011) The role of allelopathy in agricultural pest management. Pest Manag Sci 67(5):493–506. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Felske A, Rheims H, Wolterink A, Stackebrandt E, Akkermans ADL (1997) Ribosome analysis reveals prominent activity of an uncultured member of the class Actinobacteria in grassland soils. Microbiol 143:2983–2989. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fenner M (2012) Seed ecology. Springer Science & Business Media, Dordrecht. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Garrison AJ, Miller AD, Ryan MR, Roxburgh SH, Shea K (2014) Stacked crop rotations exploit weed-weed competition for sustainable weed management. Weed Sci 62(1):166–176. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Harper SHT, Lynch JM (1982) The role of water-soluble components in phytotoxicity from decomposing straw. Plant Soil 65(1):11–17. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Härtig E, Jahn D (2012) Chapter five - regulation of the anaerobic metabolism in Bacillus subtilis. Adv Microb Physiol 61:195–216. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Hossain MM, Begum M (2015) Soil weed seed bank: importance and management for sustainable crop production - a review. J Bangladesh Agric Univ 13(2):221–228. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Inderjit WJ (2001) Plant allelochemical interference or soil chemical ecology? Perspect Plant Ecol Evol Syst 4(1):3–12. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kalburtji KL, Gagianas A (1997) Effects of sugar beet as a preceding crop on cotton. J Agron Crop Sci 178(1):59–63. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kim JK, Park KJ, Cho KS, Nam SW, Park TJ, Bajpai R (2005) Aerobic nitrification–denitrification by heterotrophic Bacillus strains. Bioresour Technol 96(17):1897–1906. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Kruse M, Strandberg M, Strandberg B (2000) Ecological effects of allelopathic plants – a Review. NERI Technical Report No. 315, National Environmental Research Institute, Silkeborg, Denmark, 66Google Scholar
  21. Kukić J, Popović V, Petrović S, Mucaji P, Ćirić A, Stojković D, Soković M (2008) Antioxidant and antimicrobial activity of Cynara cardunculus extracts. Food Chem 107(2):861–868. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Magurran AE (2004) Measuring biological diversity. Blackwell Publishing, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  23. Martin-Laurent F, Philippot L, Hallet S, Chaussod R, Germon JC, Soulas G, Cautroux G (2001) DNA extraction from soils: old bias for new microbial diversity analysis methods. Appl Environ Microbiol 67(5):2354–2359. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  24. Marushia RG, Holt JS (2006) The effects of habitat on dispersal patterns of an invasive thistle, Cynara cardunculus. Biol Invasions 8(4):577–593. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pagliaruolo C, De Vito V, Picariello G, Colicchio R, Pastore G, Salvatore P, Volpe MG (2016) Inhibitory effect of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) polyphenol extracts on the bacterial growth and survival of clinical isolates of pathogenic Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Food Chem 190:824–831. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pandino G, Lombardo S, Williamson G, Mauromicale G (2012) Polyphenol profile and content in wild and cultivated Cynara cardunculus L. Ital J Agron 7(3):254–261. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Peoples MB, Herridge DF, Ladha JK (1995) Biological nitrogen fixation: an efficient source of nitrogen for sustainable agriculture production? In: Ladha JK, Peoples MB (eds) Management of biological nitrogen fixation for the development of more productive and sustainable agricultural systems. Developments in plant and soil sciences. Springer, Dordrecht. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pesce GR, Negri M, Bacenetti J, Mauromicale G (2017) The biomethane, silage and biomass yield obtainable from three accessions of Cynara cardunculus. Ind Crop Prod 103:233–239. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Portis E, Mauromicale G, Barchi L, Mauro R, Lanteri S (2005) Population structure and genetic variation in autochthonous globe artichoke germplasm from Sicily Island. Plant Sci 168(6):1591–1598. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Scavo A, Restuccia A, Mauromicale G (2018a) Allelopathy: principles and basic aspects for agroecosystem control. In: Gaba S, Smith B, Lichtfouse E (eds) Sustainable Agriculture Reviews 28. Sustainable Agriculture Reviews, vol 28. Springer, Cham, pp 47–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Scavo A, Restuccia A, Pandino G, Onofri A, Mauromicale G (2018b) Allelopathic effects of Cynara cardunculus L. leaf aqueous extracts on seed germination of some Mediterranean weed species. Ital J Agron 13(2):119–125. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Scavo A, Rial C, Molinillo JMG, Varela RM, Mauromicale G, Macías FA (2019a) The extraction procedure improves the allelopathic activity of cardoon (Cynara cardunculus var. altilis) leaf allelochemicals. Ind Crop Prod 128:479–487. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Scavo A, Pandino G, Restuccia C, Parafiti L, Cirvilleri G, Mauromicale G (2019b) Antimicrobial activity of cultivated cardoon (Cynara cardunculus L. var. altilis DC.) leaf extracts against bacterial species of agricultural and food interest. Ind Crop Prod 129:206–211. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Singh BK, Millard P, Whiteley AS, Murrell JC (2004) Unravelling rhizosphere-microbial interactions: opportunities and limitations. Trends Microbiol 12(8):386–393. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Snapp SS, Swinton SM, Labarta R, Mutch D, Black JR, Leep R, Nyiraneza J, O'Neil K (2005) Evaluating cover crops for benefits, costs and performance within cropping system niches. Agron J 97(1):322–332. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Souto XC, Bolaño JC, González L, Reigosa MJ (2001) Allelopathic effects of tree species on some soil microbial populations and herbaceous plants. Biol Plant 44(2):269–275. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. White VA, Holt JS (2005) Competition of artichoke thistle (Cynara cardunculus) with native and exotic grassland species. Weed Sci 53(6):826–833. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wilson RG (1988) Biology of weed seeds in the soil) In: Altieri MA, Liebman M (eds) Weed management in agroecosystems. Ecological approaches. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, pp 25–39Google Scholar

Copyright information

© INRA and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Di3A)University of CataniaCataniaItaly

Personalised recommendations