Investigations on some aspects of chemical ecology of cogongrass,Imperata cylindrica (L.) Beauv.
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To understand the interference mechanism of the weed, cogongrass,Imperata cylindrica (L.) Beauv., its effect on nutrient availability and mycoflora of its soil rhizosphere as well as nodule characteristics, root length, and root/shoot ratio of Melilotus parviflora Desf. were investigated. Additionally, the effect of the leachates of leaves and root/rhizome of cogongrass on seed germination and seedling characteristics of radish, mustard, fenugreek, and tomato were examined. Furthermore, to assess the qualitative and quantitative differences in phytochemical components, the leachates and the soils from three sampling sites (with cogongrass and 1.5 m and 3 m away from cogongrass) were analyzed with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) on a C18 column. No significant difference in nutrient availability was found, but qualitative and quantitative differences in phenolic fractions were recorded in the three sampling sites. Furthermore, of the 19 fungi recorded in the soils, decreases in the number of colonies (per gram of soil) ofAspergillus fumigatus, A. niger, A. candidus, and an increase of A. flavus was recorded in the soils with cogongrass. The inhibition in nodule number, weight, nitrogen fixation (acetylene reduction activity), root length, and root/shoot ratio of Melilotus parviflora were noted. Percent seed germination, root and shoot length, fresh and dry weight of seedlings of different seeds were affected by the leachates of leaves and root/rhizome. It was found that root/rhizome leachate was more inhibitory than leaf leachate. However, the inhibition was higher in soil+leaves leachate than soil+root/rhizome leachate. HPLC analysis established that four compounds were contributed by the weed to the soil system even though their relative concentration varies in various leachates. It is surmised that these compounds cause allelopathic inhibition of growth characteristics of seeds tested. Significance of the data vis-a-vis the interference potential of the cogongrass is discussed.
Key WordsAllelopathy cogongrass competition Imperata cylindrica HPLC interference weed
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