Allopathic Effect of Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) and Analysis for Its Allelochemicals

  • Published : 2003.12.01


Allelopathic effects of black locust(Robinia pseudoacacia L.) was evaluated through germination tests using 13 different species including R. pseudoacacia itself. The water extract from leaf or root of R. pseudoacacia was separately tested. Seed germination of several species was inhibited in the presence of leaf or root extract, although the level of germination was in a wide range depending on the species. Seed germination of R. pseudoacacia was suppressed by 30 % in its leaf extract. Among tested tree species, Hibiscus syriacus and Alnus frma showed significantly inhibited germination in the root extracts whereas Thuja orientalis exhibited germination inhibition in the leaf extract. HPLC was carried out to identify allelochemicals in extracts of leaf and root using eight authentic phenolic compounds that are known to be responsible for allelopathy. The major phenolic compounds occupying about 40 % of total phenolic acids were gentisic acid in leaves and vanillic acid and syringic acid in roots. The leaves contained 7 times more phenolic acids than the roots. Among 8 tested phenolic compounds vanillin was detected only in roots and coumaric acid in leaves. Consequently, 3 out of 13 species showed significantly inhibited germination due to leaf or root extract. This germination test indicates that the inhibitory allelopathic effect by R. pseudoacacia is caused by chemical interaction not by nutritional competition and that the allelochermicals of black locust act species-specifically. No specific influence of the total amount of phenolic compounds on the allelopathic inhibitory germination and the synergic effect by each phenolic compound may play a role for the allelopathic effect by R. pseudoacacia.