Crabgrass’ secret: The despised weed makes herbicide to kill neighboring plants

Share via AddThis
Posted on June 27, 2013

Contrary to popular belief, crabgrass does not thrive in lawns, gardens and farm fields by simply crowding out other plants. A new study in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has found that the much-despised weed actually produces its own herbicides that kill nearby plants.

Chui-Hua Kong and colleagues point out that crabgrass is not only a headache for lawns and home gardens, but also a major cause of crop loss on farms. Scientists long suspected, but had a hard time proving, that the weed thrived by allelopathy. From the Greek “allelo-,” meaning “other,” and “-pathy,” meaning “suffering,” allelopathy occurs when one plant restricts the growth of another by releasing toxins. They set out to determine if crabgrass has this oppressive ability.

Kong’s team isolated three chemicals from crabgrass that affect the microbial communities in nearby soil and did indeed inhibit the growth of staple crops wheat, corn and soybeans. “The chemical-specific changes in [the] soil microbial community generated a negative feedback on crop growth,” the scientists said, noting that the chemicals also would have a direct toxic effect on other plants.

Source: ACS



40,179 science & technology articles

Categories

Our Articles (see all)

General News

Follow us

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   StumbleUpon   Plurk
Google+   Tumblr   Delicious   RSS   Newsletter via Email

Featured Video (see all)

Dark matter can be observed by analyzing distribution of regular matter and its gravitational interactions in large-scale objets, such as galaxies. Image source: YouTube screenshot.
Complex dark matter
In this video, U.S. CMS Education and Outreach Coordinator Don Lincoln discusses how dark matter might have a…

Featured Image (see all)


Multi-Utility Technology Testbed Aircraft On the Runway
The X-56A Multi-Utility Technology Testbed (MUTT) is greeted on an Edwards Air Force Base runway by a U.S.…