Seed Germination Inhibitors in Cortex Tissue of Sweetpotato

in HortScience
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After removal of the periderm, cortex tissue of the sweetpotato cultivar Regal was collected. Polar extracts of this tissue strongly inhibited germination of proso-millet seed. C18 preparative, step-gradient chromatography (H2O → 100% methanol) gave some 50+ fractions, all of which were assayed for inhibitory properties. Analytical HPLC, using diode array detection and signal processing, showed the presence of chlorogenic, p-coumaric and caffeic acid, scopolin and some unknown phenolic acids. Most fractions were inhibitory to some degree; however, the least polar ones (in 90% and 100% methanol), containing unknown compounds, were most inhibitory. Semi-prep HPLC of these fractions produced eight major peaks (λmax at 210–213 nm, λ2 at 281–284 nm). In our bioassays, the compounds produced 50% inhibition of proso-millet seed germination at ≈60 ppm. It is likely that these compounds contribute significantly to the allelopathic properties of sweetpotato.

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