Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 10, Issue 8, pp 1169–1191 | Cite as

Effects of ferulic acid and some of its microbial metabolic products on radicle growth of cucumber

  • Udo Blum
  • Barry R. Dalton
  • John O. Rawlings
Article

Abstract

An initial survey of the effects of aqueous solutions of ferulic acid and three of its microbial metabolic products at pH 4.5, 6.0, and 7.5 was determined on radicle growth of 11 crop species in Petri dishes. These bioassays indicated that cucumber, ladino clover, lettuce, mung bean, and wheat were inhibited by ferulic, caffeic, protocatechuic, and/or vanillic acids and that the magnitude of inhibition varied with concentration (0–2 mM), phenolic acid, and pH of the initial solution. The pH values of the initial solutions changed considerably when added to the Petri dishes containing filter paper and seeds. The final pH values after 48 hr were 6.6, 6.8, and 7.1, respectively, for the initial 4.5, 6.0, and 7.5 pH solutions. The amounts of the phenolic acids in the Petri dishes declined rapidly over the 48 hr of the bioassay, and the rate of phenolic acid decline was species specific. Cucumber was subsequently chosen as the bioassay species for further study. MES buffer was used to stabilize the pH of the phenolic acid solutions which ranged between 5.5 and 5.8 for all subsequent studies. Inhibition of radicle growth declined in a curvilinear manner over the 0–2 mM concentration range. At 0.125 and 0.25 mM concentrations of ferulic acid, radicle growth of cucumber was inhibited 7 and 14%, respectively. A variety of microbial metabolic products of ferulic acid was identified in the Petri dishes and tested for toxicity. Only vanillic acid was as inhibitory as ferulic acid. The remaining phenolic acids were less inhibitory to noninhibitory. When mixtures of phenolic acids were tested, individual components were antagonistic to each other in the inhibition of cucumber radicle growth. Depending on the initial total concentration of the mixture, effects ranged from 5 to 35% lower than the sum of the inhibition of each phenolic acid tested separately. Implications of these findings to germination bioassays are discussed.

Key words

Ferulic acid vanillic acid caffeic acid cucumber radicle growth antagonism germination bioassays allelopathy phytotoxicity 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Udo Blum
    • 1
  • Barry R. Dalton
    • 1
  • John O. Rawlings
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BotanyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleigh
  2. 2.Department of StatisticsNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleigh

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