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Plant sciences, sustainable farming systems and food quality

Evaluation of seedling allelopathy in 453 wheat (Triticum aestivum) accessions against annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum) by the equal-compartment-agar method

H. Wu, J. Pratley, D. Lemerle and T. Haig

Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 51(7) 937 - 944
Published: 2000


Allelopathy has been receiving world-wide attention for its potential in integrated weed management. A newly developed screening bioassay, the ‘equal-compartment-agar method’ (ECAM), was used to evaluate seedling allelopathy against annual ryegrass in a collection of 453 wheat accessions originating from 50 countries. Significant differences in allelopathic potential were found in this worldwide collection, inhibiting root growth of ryegrass from 9.7% to 90.9%. Wheat seedling allelopathy also varied significantly with accessions from different countries. Wheat allelopathic activity was normally distributed within the collection, indicating the involvement of multiple genes conferring the allelopathic trait. Of the 453 wheat accessions screened, 2 distinct groups were identified. Condor-derivatives were more allelopathic than Pavon-derivatives, with an average inhibition of root growth of ryegrass by 76% and 46%, respectively. Research was further extended to investigate the near isogenic lines derived from Hartog (Pavon-derivative) and Janz (Condor-derivative). Hartog and its backcrossed lines were less allelopathic than Janz and its backcrossed lines, inhibiting root length of ryegrass by 45% and 81%, respectively. These results strongly indicate that wheat allelopathic activity might also be controlled by major genes, depending on the particular populations. The present study demonstrates that there is a considerable genetic variation of allelopathic activity in wheat germplasm. It is possible to breed for cultivars with enhanced allelopathic activity for weed suppression.

Keywords: screening bioassay, in vivo, weed suppression, genetics, plant breeding.

© CSIRO 2000

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