Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Phytotoxic evaluation of Phragmites australis: an investigation of aqueous extracts of different organs

Md N. Uddin A B , Domenico Caridi A and Randall W. Robinson A

A School of Engineering & Science, Victoria University, St Albans Campus, Melbourne, Vic. 8001, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: mdnazim.uddin@live.vu.edu.au

Marine and Freshwater Research 63(9) 777-787 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF12071
Submitted: 9 March 2012  Accepted: 24 July 2012   Published: 8 October 2012

Abstract

Phragmites australis is one of the most widespread and invasive plants on earth. Allelopathic interference has been considered as a possible way associated with its invasiveness in wetlands. A series of ecologically realistic experiments was conducted to explore allelochemical phytotoxicity of Phragmites. Germination bioassays using aqueous extracts of different organs (leaf, stem, root and rhizome) of Phragmites were tested with model seeds (Lactuca sativa and Raphanus sativus) and associated plant species (Juncus pallidus and Rumex conglomeratus). These studies showed that leaf and rhizome extracts exhibited strong inhibition on germination, biometric and physiological parameters (all P ≤ 0.001). Dose–response studies confirmed LC50 (4.68% and 11.25%) of Lactuca for leaf and rhizome extracts respectively. Root growth of Juncus and Rumex was inhibited by 75% and 30%, respectively, in leaf leachate-incorporated soil. Chlorophyll content and maximum quantum yield (Fv/Fm) were significantly reduced with leaf and rhizome leachates. The stability and quantity of water-soluble phenolics in anaerobic versus aerobic condition may influence phytotoxic effects to other species. Phragmites organs can be ranked in order of allelopathic potentiality as follows: leaf > rhizome > root > stem. The present study highlighted the potential impacts of allelochemicals on plant recruitment in wetlands invaded by Phragmites.

Additional keywords: Australia, cell integrity, ecosystems, litter decomposition, radicle length, soil systems.


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