Crop growth promotion through allelopathic water extracts
March 23, 2013
Allopathic interactionIncreasing global population demands high crop production to meet the food requirements. Sustainable agriculture ensures the food security, food safety and environmental protection simultaneously. Allelopathy is one of the key processes being used in organically managed agro-ecosystems. It is a natural ecological phenomenon in which plants or micro organisms influence the growth and functioning of others in their vicinity by releasing specific chemicals known as allelochemicals. These chemicals are released in environment by volatilization, leaching, decomposition and root exudation.
Allelopathy has two dimensions; inhibitory and promotory. Inhibitory role of allelopathy has been intensively studied and has been utilized effectively in organic weed management. But its growth stimulatory effects are less explored and this novel aspect was neglected so far. Allelochemicals are naturally released in aerial and soil environment but the use of allelopathic crop water extracts as foliage application has shown good results regarding weed control. Allelochemicals are concentration dependent. They increase crop growth at low concentrations while suppress the growth at high concentrations. Recent research has shown that water extracts of sorghum, brassica, sunflower, rice and moringa improve growth of different arable crops and vegetables, when applied at low concentrations. Scientific studies show that low concentrations of such chemicals improve and regulate different physiological processes like seed germination, root growth, chlorophyll accumulation, photosynthesis, transpiration, leaf expansion and genetic encodings and subsequently growth and yield.
alleopathic effectAllelopathy can be employed for crop growth promotion and yield maximization in modern agriculture avoiding the environmental hazards of chemical growth regulators. Scientists have done a lot of work on synthetic plant growth regulators but did not get much success regarding their adoption in farming community especially in developing countries like us. This failure is mainly due to high prices of such growth promoters. Whereas, allelopathic water extracts are cost effective, eco friendly and efficient. They have no negative impact on environment and are already present at the door step of farmer. We just have to optimize their concentration which can perform best in the field. This work is in augmenting progress at Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture Faisalabad and encouraging research findings are reinforcing the concept and its application in today’s agriculture.
In near future the use of allelopathy for crop growth promotion will be the most acceptable and applicable option because of its numerous and long term advantages. In the long run it can ensure the provision of wholesome and nutritious food around the clock.
ALI AHSAN BAJWA is a Student of M.Sc (Hons) Agronomy at Department of Agronomy University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Dr. Muhammad Farooq and Zahid Ata Cheema, are associated with Allelopathy Lab, Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad.Contact Information Email: email@example.com
Article Published with Special Permission of Author
Model Farming, New Agri Technology