Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 645–666 | Cite as

Volatile seed germination inhibitors from plant residues

  • Judith M. Bradow
  • William J. ConnickJr.


Volatile emissions from residues of the winter cover legumes, Berseem clover (Trifolium alexandrinum L.), hairy vetch [Vicia hirsuta (L.) S.F. Gray], and crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum L.), inhibited germination and seedling development of onion, carrot, and tomato. Using GC-MS, 31 C2-C10 hydrocarbons, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, esters, furans, and monoterpenes were identified in these residue emission mixtures. Mixtures of similar compounds were found in the volatiles released by herbicide-treated aerial and root residues of purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus L.) and the late-season woody stems and roots of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). Vapor-phase onion, carrot, and tomato seed germination bioassays were used to determine the time- and concentration-dependent inhibition potential of 33 compounds that were either identified in the plant residue emissions or were structurally similar to identified compounds. Cumulative results of the bioassays showed that (E)-2-hexenal was the most inhibitory volatile tested, followed by nonanal, 3-methylbutanal, and ethyl 2-methylbutyrate. All the volatile mixtures examined contained at least one compound that greatly inhibited seed germination.

Key words

Allelopathy allelochemicals Allium cepa Daucus carota Lycopersicon esculentum volatiles cover crops conservation tillage cotton hydrocarbons alcohols ketones aldehydes furans esters 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Judith M. Bradow
    • 1
  • William J. ConnickJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Southern Regional Research CenterUSDA, ARSNew Orleans

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