Allelopathy--a natural alternative for weed control

Pest Manag Sci. 2007 Apr;63(4):327-48. doi: 10.1002/ps.1342.


Allelopathy studies the interactions among plants, fungi, algae and bacteria with the organisms living in a certain ecosystem, interactions that are mediated by the secondary metabolites produced and exuded into the environment. Consequently, allelopathy is a multidisciplinary science where ecologists, chemists, soil scientists, agronomists, biologists, plant physiologists and molecular biologists offer their skills to give an overall view of the complex interactions occurring in a certain ecosystem. As a result of these studies, applications in weed and pest management are expected in such different fields as development of new agrochemicals, cultural methods, developing of allelopathic crops with increased weed resistance, etc. The present paper will focus on the chemical aspects of allelopathy, pointing out the most recent advances in the chemicals disclosed, their mode of action and their fate in the ecosystem. Also, attention will be paid to achievements in genomics and proteomics, two emerging fields in allelopathy. Rather than being exhaustive, this paper is intended to reflect a critical vision of the current state of allelopathy and to point to future lines of research where in the authors' opinion the main advances and applications could and should be expected.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ecosystem
  • Genomics
  • Herbicides / chemistry
  • Herbicides / isolation & purification
  • Herbicides / pharmacology*
  • Phenols / chemistry
  • Phenols / isolation & purification
  • Phenols / pharmacology
  • Pheromones / chemistry
  • Pheromones / isolation & purification
  • Pheromones / pharmacology*
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena / drug effects
  • Plants / drug effects*
  • Proteomics
  • Soil
  • Terpenes / chemistry
  • Terpenes / isolation & purification
  • Terpenes / pharmacology


  • Herbicides
  • Phenols
  • Pheromones
  • Soil
  • Terpenes