Allelopathy: Can It Be Managed to Benefit Horticulture?

in HortScience
A. R. PutnamDepartment of Horticulture and Pesticide Research Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824

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The term allelopathy was introduced by Molisch (22) in 1937, and refers to all biochemical interactions (stimulatory and inhibitory) among plants, including microorganisms. The fact that the term is literally translated as “mutual harm or suffering” has probably led to other interpretations and confusion. Several scientists have suggested narrowing the definition to include only higher plants and harmful interactions. Rice (38) defined allelopathy in his first edition to include only harmful effects, but he recently opted to restate Molisch's premise in his 2nd edition (39). Molisch's broad definition of allelopathy is probably appropriate because considerable research has indicated that involvement of microorganisms and lower plants in phytotoxin production. Also, natural compounds that inhibit growth at certain concentrations often enhance growth at lower concentrations.

Contributor Notes

Journal Article No. 11460 of the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station. I thank J.P. Barnes, W.R. Chase, J. DeFrank, F.R. Lehle, R.H. Lockerman, and L.A. Weston, whose dedicated efforts made this paper possible.

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