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Allelopathic potential of some essential oils vis-à-vis three noxious weed species invading cereals

Imtinen Ben Haj Jilani, Samir Chebil, Ramla Khiari, Imen Melki, Samia Limam- Ben Saad, Amina Daoud-Bouattour, Zeineb Gammar-Ghrabi

Institut supérieur des études préparatoires en biologie et géologie de la Soukra (ISEPBG) 49 Avenue 13 Août, Choutrana II – Soukra 2036, Tunisia

UR biogéographie, climatologie appliqué et dynamique érosive Faculté des lettres, des arts et des humanités de la Manouba Campus universitaire de la Manouba, 2010, Manouba, Tunisia

Centre de biotechnologie de Borj Cedria (CBBC)P.O.B. 901, Hammam-Lif 2050, Tunisia

Institut national agronomique de Tunisie (INAT) 43, Avenue Charles Nicolle- Tunis- Mahrajène 1082, Tunisia

Département de Biologie, faculté des Sciences de Tunis, Université de Tunis El Manar, campus le Belvédère, 2092 Tunis, Tunisia

Key words: Allelopathy, essential oils, seed germination, weeds, cereals


seed_germinatingThis investigation was performed to assess the allelopathic potential of essential oils extracted from seven medicinal and aromatic plants of the Tunisian flora: Artemisia herba-alba Asso., Mentha pulegium L., Rosmarinus officinalis L., Salvia officinalis L., Lavandula officinalis L., Eucalyptus gomphocephala DC. And Foeniculum vulgare Mill.; selected based on ethnobotanical data. To achieve the target, in vitro trials were carried out to test the inhibitory activity of these volatile oils against seed germination of three Mediterranean noxious weed species namely Sinapis arvensis L., Rumex crispus L. and Phalaris minor Retz.; invading most particularly grain crops. Accordingly, the same bioassays were conducted concurrently for two winter cereals wheat and barley as non-target species. The scrutiny of results revealed a differential response among weed species as well as a disparity across the essential oil activities. Indeed, solely oils from A. herba-alba, M. pulegium and L. officinalis drastically inhibited seed germination of P. minor and S. arvensis. Based on their phytotoxic potency (IC50), these most active essential oils could be subsequently ranked as M. pulegium > L. officinalis > A. herba- alba. In a second step, a phytochemical study using GC/FID and GC/MS was undertaken. The abundance of oxygenated monoterpenes might thereby explain the potent inhibitory activity of the oils. Moreover, it is worth noting that A. herba-alba essential oil exhibited a distinct chemical composition which would characterize the Tunisian Dorsale. Hence, these promising findings may solve some environmental issues related to pesticide pollution and hold the key to non-chemical weed management strategy.

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