Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 130, Issue 4, pp 647–658 | Cite as

Allelopathic interference of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) genotypes to annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum)

  • Hasan Muhammad Zubair
  • James E. Pratley
  • G. A. Sandral
  • A. Humphries
Regular Paper


Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) genotypes at varying densities were investigated for allelopathic impact using annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum) as the target species in a laboratory bioassay. Three densities (15, 30, and 50 seedlings/beaker) and 40 alfalfa genotypes were evaluated by the equal compartment agar method (ECAM). Alfalfa genotypes displayed a range of allelopathic interference in ryegrass seedlings, reducing root length from 5 to 65%. The growth of ryegrass decreased in response to increasing density of alfalfa seedlings. At the lowest density, Q75 and Titan9 were the least allelopathic genotypes. An overall inhibition index was calculated to rank each alfalfa genotype. Reduction in seed germination of annual ryegrass occurred in the presence of several alfalfa genotypes including Force 10, Haymaster7 and SARDI Five. A comprehensive metabolomic analysis using Quadruple Time of Flight (Q-TOF), was conducted to compare six alfalfa genotypes. Variation in chemical compounds was found between alfalfa root extracts and exudates and also between genotypes. Further individual compound assessments and quantitative study at greater chemical concentrations are needed to clarify the allelopathic activity. Considerable genetic variation exists among alfalfa genotypes for allelopathic activity creating the opportunity for its use in weed suppression through selection.


Allelopathy Annual ryegrass Bioassay Inhibition Alfalfa Metabolomic 



The authors are grateful to Charles Sturt University for the award of Charles Sturt University Postgraduate Research Scholarship. We wish to acknowledge to PGG Wrightson Seeds, Seed Distributors seed companies and SARDI for the provision of alfalfa seeds.


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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hasan Muhammad Zubair
    • 1
    • 2
  • James E. Pratley
    • 1
    • 2
  • G. A. Sandral
    • 2
    • 3
  • A. Humphries
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences, Faculty of ScienceCharles Sturt UniversityWagga WaggaAustralia
  2. 2.Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation (an alliance between Charles Sturt University and NSW Department of Primary Industries)Wagga WaggaAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Primary IndustriesWagga Wagga Agricultural InstituteWagga WaggaAustralia
  4. 4.South Australian Research and Development Institute, Waite CampusAdelaideAustralia

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