Weeds Cause Losses in Field Crops through Allelopathy
A large number of weeds are known to be associated with crops and causing economic losses. Weeds interfere with crops through competition and allelopathy. They produce secondary metabolites known as allelochemicals, which belong to numerous chemical classes such as phenolics, alkaloids, fatty acids, indoles, terpens etc. However, phenolics are the predominant class of allelochemicals. The allelochemicals release from weed plants takes place through leaf leachates, decomposition of plant residues, volatilization and root exudates. Weeds leave huge quantities of their residues in field and affect the associated, as well as succeeding crops, in various cropping systems. Liberation of allelochemicals from weeds affects the germination, stand establishment, growth, yield and physiology of crop plants. They cause substantial reduction in germination and growth of the crop plants by altering various physiological processes such as enzyme activity, protein synthesis, photosynthesis, respiration, cell division and enlargement, which ultimately leads to a significant reduction in crop yield. In crux, allelopathic weeds represent a potential threat for crop plants and cause economic losses.
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