The Use of Protein Hydrolysates for Weed Control



Corn gluten meal, the protein fraction of corn (Zea mays L.) grain, is commercially used as a natural weed control agent and nitrogen source in horticultural crops and in the turf and ornamental markets. Corn gluten hydrolysate, a water soluble form of gluten meal, has also been proposed for the same purpose, although it could be sprayed on the soil rather than applied in the granular form. Five depeptides, glutaminyl-glutamine (Gln-Gln), glycinyl-alanine (Gly-Ala), alanyl-­glutamine (Ala-Glu), alanyl-asparagine (Ala-Asp), and alaninyl-alanine (Ala-Ala) and a pentapeptide leucine-serine-proline-alanine-glutamine (Leu-Ser-Pro-Ala-Gln) were identified as the active components of the hydrolysate. Microscopic analysis revealed that Ala-Ala acted on some metabolic process rather than directly on the mitotic apparatus. Similar to the chloracetamides and sulfonyl-urea hebicides, Ala-Ala inhibits cell division rather than disrupting of cell division processes. Cellular ultrastructure changes caused by exposure to Ala-Ala implicate Ala-Ala as having membrane-disrupting characteristics similar to several synthetic herbicides. The potential use of the hydrolysate and the peptides as weed controls is discussed.


Dipeptides Natural weed control Natural herbicide 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Iowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.A service of the Department of Employment, Economic Development and InnovationInnovative Food Technologies Agri-Science QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Horticulture, West Florida Research and Education Center, IFASUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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