The chemical profile and the phytotoxicity of Artemisia absinthium essential oil (EO) were investigated to evaluate its potential value as a biopesticide for food safety purposes. A total of 54 compounds were identified in A. absinthium EO, with the most abundant constituents being eucalyptol (25.59%), linalool (11.99%), and β-myrcene (10.05%). The EO, linalool, and a mixture of three major components exhibited potent suppressive activity against four receiver species; however, eucalyptol and β-myrcene showed a much weaker effect. Bioassay-guided fractionation led to the isolation of linalool as the major active compound responsible for the EO's phytotoxicity. Subsequent scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis revealed that linalool significantly inhibited root-hair formation and metaxylem development. This is the first report on the determination of linalool as the major active phytotoxic compound in A. absinthium EO, as well as the elucidation of its mechanism of phytotoxicity from the perspective of root structure changes in the receiver species. Our results suggest that both the EO and its major constituents have potential value as environmentally friendly herbicides.
Keywords: Artemisia absinthium; Essential oil; Linalool; Phytotoxicity; Scanning electron microscopy (SEM).
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