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Isolation and identification of Desmodium root exudates from drought tolerant species used as intercrops against Striga hermonthica

Hooper, A.M., Caulfield, J.C., Hao, B., Pickett, John ORCID:, Midega, C.A.O. and Khan, Z.R. 2015. Isolation and identification of Desmodium root exudates from drought tolerant species used as intercrops against Striga hermonthica. Phytochemistry 117 , pp. 380-387. 10.1016/j.phytochem.2015.06.026

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Plants from the genus Desmodium, in particular D. uncinatum, are used on sub-Saharan small-holder farms as intercrops to inhibit parasitism of cereal crops by Striga hermonthica and Striga asiatica via an allelopathic mechanism. The search for Desmodium species which are adapted to more arid conditions, and which show resilience to increased drought stress, previously identified D. intortum, D. incanum and D. ramosissimum as potential drought tolerant intercrops. Their potential as intercrops was assessed for resource poor areas of rain-fed cereal production where drought conditions can persist through normal meteorological activity, or where drought may have increasing impact through climate change. The chemical composition of the root exudates were characterised and the whole exudate biological activity was shown to be active in pot experiments for inhibition of Striga parasitism on maize. Furthermore, rain fed plot experiments showed the drought tolerant Desmodium intercrops to be effective for Striga inhibition. This work demonstrates the allelopathic nature of the new drought tolerant intercrops through activity of root exudates and the major compounds seen in the exudates are characterised as being C-glycosylflavonoid. In young plants, the exudates show large qualitative differences but as the plants mature, there is a high degree of convergence of the C-glycosylflavonoid exudate chemical profile amongst active Desmodium intercrops that confers biological activity. This defines the material for examining the mechanism for Striga inhibition.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Chemistry
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0031-9422
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 November 2017
Date of Acceptance: 25 June 2015
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 01:14

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