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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of monoterpenoids, acting alone or in pairs, on seed germination and subsequent seedling growth.

We compared the potential allelopathic activity of 47 monoterpenoids of different chemical groups, by estimating their effect on seed germination and subsequent growth of Lactuca sativa seedlings. Apart from individual compounds, eleven pairs at different proportions were also tested. As a group, the hydrocarbons, except for (+)-3-carene, were the least inhibitory. Of the oxygenated compounds, the least inhibitory were the acetates; whenever the free hydroxyl group of an alcohol turned into a carboxyl group, the activity of the resulting ester was markedly lower (against both germination and seedling growth). Twenty-four compounds were extremely active against seedling growth (inhibiting it by more than 85%), but only five against seed germination. The compounds that were most active against both processes belonged to the groups of ketones and alcohols; they were terpinen-4-ol, dihydrocarvone, and two carvone stereoisomers. We used a model to investigate whether compounds acted independently when applied in pairs. The combined effect varied. In half of the cases, it followed the pattern expected under the assumption of independence; in the rest, either synergistic or antagonistic interactions were found in both germination and elongation. However, even in cases of synergistic interactions, the level of inhibition was not comparable to that of a single extremely active compound, unless such a compound already participated in the combination. The specific structural factors that operate and determine the activity of monoterpenoids still remain rather obscure. The same holds true for the combined effect; its character cannot in general be predicted on the basis of individual compounds acting alone.[1]


  1. Effects of monoterpenoids, acting alone or in pairs, on seed germination and subsequent seedling growth. Vokou, D., Douvli, P., Blionis, G.J., Halley, J.M. J. Chem. Ecol. (2003) [Pubmed]
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