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Welcome to the world of Allelopathy

Allelopathy is new science, which indicates inhibitory or stimulatory biochemical interactions between the two plant spp. Prof. Hans Molisch, a German Plant Physiologist coined this term in 1937. Thereafter worldwide, much allelopathic research had been conducted in various fields of Agricultural and Biological Sciences. Hence, International Allelopathy Society in 1996, broadened its definition to ‘Allelopathy refers to any process involving secondary metabolites produced by plants, microorganisms, viruses and fungi that influence the growth and development of Agricultural and Biological Systems’. In future, Worldwide there will be increase in demand for better quality food and in large quantity due to increased human population. Therefore, for Sustainability of Agriculture, we need to minimise the use to present pesticides (weedicides, insecticides, nematicides, fungicides), to control pests (weeds, insects, nematodes, diseases) in field crops, through use of allelopathic strategies for pests management. The present pesticides used for control of agricultural pests have caused many problems, viz., development of resistance in organisms, environmental pollution, toxicity related health hazards in humans and livestock. Studies have shown a great potential of allelochemicals in pests control, thus, these may minimise or eliminate the use of present pesticides. In this new Century (2000-) role of allelopathy is also being studied in New areas viz., Auto-toxicity, Soil sickness and spread of Invasive plants. etc. Besides, allelopathy has many other applications in agroecosystems and thus provides basis to Sustainable Agriculture. Therefore, it is priority area of multidisciplinary research in developed Countries and currently allelopathy research is being done throughout the World. For clean environment, to avoid health hazards in human and livestock and for development and Sustainability of Organic/Ecological Agriculture, adoption of allelopathic strategies in farming are essential.


Most of the Allelopathic studies done in underdeveloped and Third World Countries, consists of only simple Petri Plate Bioassays to determine the effects of Donor plants extracts on germination and seedling growth of Recipient plant spp. This is not Allelopathy Research, but just one partial component. Such Manuscripts are Rejected by SCI Journals. Many studies have given excellent evidence for allelopathy but only few investigators have followed a specific protocol (similar to Koch's postulates for proof of disease) to provide the convincing Proof of Allelopathy (Fuerst and Putnam, 1983), for which following sequence of studies are required:

  • Demonstrate the interference using the suitable controls, describe the symptoms and quantify the growth reduction.
  • Isolate, characterize and assay the chemical against species that were previously affected. Identification of chemicals that are not artifacts is essential.
  • Obtain toxicity with similar symptoms, when chemicals are added back to the system.
  • Monitor the release of chemicals from the donor plant and detect them in the environment (soil, air, etc.) around the recipient and ideally, in the recipient plant.

The complete Allelopathy research using these Postulates requires detailed studies on various aspects viz.

  • Plant Physiological/Biochemical Processes
  • Pattern of Biomass decomposition in soil
  • Allelopathic interactions between the plant roots and microbes in Rhizosphere and
  • Isolation, identification and Characterization of allelochemicals. To determine these aspects, studies are conducted in : (i). Lab Bioassays, (ii). Pot culture, (iii) Field studies and (iv). Isolation and identification of compounds responsible for such effects is also done. To fully train the researchers in Allelopathy Research, this advanced Course has been prepared.
  • 1.All parameters, enzyme activities, Chemical analysis or other items, should be determined on oven dry weight basis and not on either fresh weight or air dry basis.
  • 2. Follow all Abbreviations and Nomenclature as per International standards.