Identification of an allelopathic compound from Ailanthus altissima (Simaroubaceae) and characterization of its herbicidal activity

Rod Martin Heisey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

86 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aqueous extracts of Ailanthus altissima bark and foliage were previously shown to be toxic to other plants. Using bioassay-directed fractionation, I isolated the phytotoxic compound from A. altissima root bark and identified it to be ailanthone, a quassinoid compound having molecular mass of 376. Ailanthone was highly phytotoxic, with concentrations of 0.7 ml/L causing 50% inhibition of radicle elongation in a standardized bioassay with garden cress (Lepidium sativum) seeds. Ailanthone exhibited potent pre- and postemergence herbicidal activity in greenhouse trials. Postemergence activity was especially striking; even the lowest application rate (0.5 kg/ha) caused complete mortality of five of the seven plant species tested within 5 d of treatment. In contrast, the highest application rate (8 kg/ha) did not cause any detectable injury to A. altissima seedlings, indicating the presence of a protective mechanism in the producer species to prevent autotoxicity. Ailanthone was rapidly detoxified in field soil as a result of microbial activity. Applications of ailanthone equivalent to 0.5 and 4.0 kg/ha completely lost their phytotoxicity within ≤5 d when incubated in the presence of nonsterile soil. When incubated with sterile soil under identical conditions, however, ailanthone remained highly phytotoxic throughout the 21-d duration of the investigation. The high level of postemergence herbicidal activity in conjunction with its rapid biodegradation in soil suggest ailanthone may have potential for development as a natural-product herbicide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-200
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Volume83
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

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Ailanthus
Simaroubaceae
Ailanthus altissima
Lepidium sativum
application rate
bark
Soil
bioassay
soil
bioassays
root radicle
phytotoxicity
Biological Assay
biodegradation
microbial activity
Quassins
foliage
garden
herbicide
fractionation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science

Cite this

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abstract = "Aqueous extracts of Ailanthus altissima bark and foliage were previously shown to be toxic to other plants. Using bioassay-directed fractionation, I isolated the phytotoxic compound from A. altissima root bark and identified it to be ailanthone, a quassinoid compound having molecular mass of 376. Ailanthone was highly phytotoxic, with concentrations of 0.7 ml/L causing 50{\%} inhibition of radicle elongation in a standardized bioassay with garden cress (Lepidium sativum) seeds. Ailanthone exhibited potent pre- and postemergence herbicidal activity in greenhouse trials. Postemergence activity was especially striking; even the lowest application rate (0.5 kg/ha) caused complete mortality of five of the seven plant species tested within 5 d of treatment. In contrast, the highest application rate (8 kg/ha) did not cause any detectable injury to A. altissima seedlings, indicating the presence of a protective mechanism in the producer species to prevent autotoxicity. Ailanthone was rapidly detoxified in field soil as a result of microbial activity. Applications of ailanthone equivalent to 0.5 and 4.0 kg/ha completely lost their phytotoxicity within ≤5 d when incubated in the presence of nonsterile soil. When incubated with sterile soil under identical conditions, however, ailanthone remained highly phytotoxic throughout the 21-d duration of the investigation. The high level of postemergence herbicidal activity in conjunction with its rapid biodegradation in soil suggest ailanthone may have potential for development as a natural-product herbicide.",
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Identification of an allelopathic compound from Ailanthus altissima (Simaroubaceae) and characterization of its herbicidal activity. / Heisey, Rod Martin.

In: American journal of botany, Vol. 83, No. 2, 01.01.1996, p. 192-200.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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