Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (GxABT)
Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (GxABT)

Allelopathy induces an underground dialogue : Study of the root exudates and volatile organic compounds of Secale cereale L. in interaction with Amaranthus retroflexus L.

Martini, Florian ULiège
Promotor(s) : Fauconnier, Marie-Laure ULiège
Date of defense : 31-Aug-2022 • Permalink :
Title : Allelopathy induces an underground dialogue : Study of the root exudates and volatile organic compounds of Secale cereale L. in interaction with Amaranthus retroflexus L.
Translated title : [fr] L'allélopathie induit un dialogue souterrain : Etude des exsudats racinaires et des composés organiques volatils produits par Secale cereale L. en interaction avec Amaranthus retroflexus L.
Author : Martini, Florian ULiège
Date of defense  : 31-Aug-2022
Advisor(s) : Fauconnier, Marie-Laure ULiège
Committee's member(s) : Sindic, Marianne ULiège
De Clerck, Caroline ULiège
Delaplace, Pierre ULiège
Ongena, Marc ULiège
Lheureux, Laura ULiège
Gfeller, Aurélie 
Language : English
Number of pages : 116
Keywords : [en] Allelopathy
[en] Secale cereale
[en] Amaranthus retroflexus
[en] Benzoxazinoids
[en] VOC
[en] root system
Discipline(s) : Life sciences > Agriculture & agronomy
Research unit : Agroscope de changin, Nyon, Suisse
Target public : Researchers
Professionals of domain
Institution(s) : Université de Liège, Liège, Belgique
Degree: Master en bioingénieur : chimie et bioindustries, à finalité spécialisée
Faculty: Master thesis of the Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (GxABT)


[fr] Allelopathy refers to the influence of an organism on the growth or development of another. This natural phenomenon mainly takes place in the soil by a biochemical mechanism called exudation. Rye (Secale cereale L.) is commonly known for its allelopathic potential and largely used as a cover crop. For that reason, it has been chosen as plant model for this study. On the other hand, pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.) causes extent losses on crop yields, such as many other weeds encountered in all types of agroecosystems.
First, the interaction between the two plants were investigated through complex culture system and neighborhoods. Biological observations show two very distinct trends of rye morphology towards the growing environment. Indeed, facing the experimental conditions, the aboveground features of rye remained relatively constant whereas the belowground characteristics largely varied.
Secondly, the biological activity of rye raw extract was tested directly on pigweed. Even though germination and survival rate were globally not influenced, the biological essays gave a glimpse on how pigweed seeds and seedlings could react to rye presence in natural conditions.
Thirdly, the allelochemical content of rye root exudates was analyzed. Two benzoxazinoids are mostly known to take part in poaceous allelopathy: DIMBOA and DIBOA. Manifestly, only DIBOA was revealed in rye’s exudates, regardless of the plant present next to it during its growth.
Lastly, the VOCs emission of rye root was also studied. A specific experimental device allowed the extraction of VOCs directly from the rye rhizosphere. Several biogenic compounds were detected but very few of them are already listed for presumed allelopathic activities. This aspect of this work opens the door towards a whole new field in the study of volatile plant metabolites.
To conclude, viewing the actual environmental context, more sustainable agronomic practices are urgently required. Allelopathy might be one the key for better weed management as long as plant interactions with their surrounding are well understood. This work contributes to a better comprehension of the war that is taking place underground.



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