Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 11, Issue 11, pp 1567–1582 | Cite as

Effects of ferulic andp-coumaric acids in nutrient culture of cucumber leaf expansion as influenced by pH

  • Udo Blum
  • Barry R. Dalton
  • Jodi R. Shann


Cucumber seedlings were grown in 5 mM MES [2-(N-morpholino)ethanesulfonic acid] -buffered nutrient solutions adjusted to a pH of 5.5, 6.25, or 7.0. Nutrient solutions were changed on alternate days. Seedlings were treated for a two-day period with various concentrations (0–1 mM) of ferulic acid,p-coumaric acid, or mixtures of these phenolic acids when 16 days old. Leaf growth, dry weight, and water utilization of the seedlings; pH of the solutions; and disappearance of the phenolic acids from nutrient solutions were monitored. Leaf area expansion of cucumber seedlings was inhibited by both ferulic andp-coumaric acid, and the magnitude of these inhibitions was influenced by concentration and pH. Inhibition of leaf area expansion was greater at pH 5.5 and nominal at pH 7.O. Ferulic acid was more inhibitory thanp-coumaric acid. The effect of pH on growth was best described by data for mean relative rates of leaf expansion. For example, the mean relative rates of leaf expansion by both acids at 0.5 mM for the 16- to 18-day growth period (treatment period) were reduced by 45, 31, and 8% for the pH 5.5, 6.25, and 7.0 treatments, respectively. The dry weight of seedlings at harvest (day 22) was significantly reduced for seedlings grown in the pH 5.5 and 6.25 treatments, but not for the pH 7.0 treatment. There was, however, one exception; the dry weight of seedlings treated withp-coumaric acid solutions adjusted to a pH of 5.5 was not significantly reduced. Water utilization by the seedlings was reduced by both ferulic andp-coumaric acid. Again, the impact of ferulic acid was greater thanp-coumaric acid. The effect of ferulic acid on water utlization decreased with increasing pH of the nutrient solution. The pH effects were not so consistent forp-coumaric acid. The effects of equimolar mixtures of the two phenolic acids were additive for all variables measured. There was a linear correlation between mean relative rates of leaf expansion and water utilization.

Key words

Ferulic acid p-coumaric acid allelopathy pH leaf area expansion phytotoxins water utilization cucumber seedlings Cucumus sativus 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Udo Blum
    • 1
  • Barry R. Dalton
    • 1
  • Jodi R. Shann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleigh

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