Exploitation of some allelopathic species for weed control in ecological agriculture in a climbing bean crop

ISHS Secretariat
Exploitation of some allelopathic species for weed control in ecological agriculture in a climbing bean crop

As part of her PhD at the University of Life Sciences “Ion Ionescu de la Brad” Iasi, Romania, Mariana Calara’s research has focused on “Optimization of some organic vegetable crop systems using allelopathic interactions”. There are many products available for disease and pest control in organic agriculture. However, when it comes to weed control, the measures are limited. Allelopathy can be helpful in this regard. Allelopathy is a biological phenomenon involving chemical interactions, where a plant releases specific chemicals that exert various effects on neighboring or associated plants. Allelopathic substances are phytochemicals produced by plants as secondary metabolites, seemingly devoid of direct involvement in their own growth and development. Instead, these substances serve as a form of defensive adaptation. Consequently, allelopathic species hold significant promise for applications in organic farming and organic weed control strategies. While allelopathy can offer several benefits for agriculture, it also presents challenges. The allelopathic effects vary depending on factors such as plant species, environmental conditions, and the concentration of allelopathic compounds. In field crops, allelopathy can be used following rotation, using cover crops, mulching and plant extracts. The goal of the present work was to evaluate the influence of nine allelopathic species on weed control: red clover (Trifolium pratense), white clover (Trifolium repens), sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia), oil radish (Raphanus sativus var. oleiformis), yellow mustard (Sinapis alba), barley (Hordeum vulgare), two-rowed barley (Hordeum distichon), oats (Avena sativa) and Japanese grass (Lolium perene, Festuca rubra and Poa pratensis). The research results revealed that the degree of weed infestation in climbing beans was significantly reduced by intercropping with red clover, oil radish, yellow mustard and red clover, sainfoin, oats, barley, and two-rowed barley. The study also revealed that plant species possessing allelopathic properties did not adversely affect the yield of the climbing bean crop. These results suggest that intercropping with plant species that have allelopathic properties can be a beneficial and sustainable approach for weed control. However, further research is needed to determine the long-term effects of intercropping on soil health, crop productivity, and weed management

Mariana Calara won the ISHS Young Minds Award for the best poster presentation at the IX South-Eastern Europe Symposium on Vegetables and Potatoes in Romania in September 2023.

Mariana Calara, Vegetable Research and Development Station Bacau, Calea Bârladului 220, 600388, Romania, e-mail: calaramariana@gmail.com

The article is available in Chronica Horticulturae

weed control
climbing bean
Young Minds Award Winners