Bioassay of naturally occurring allelochemicals for phytotoxicity


The bioassay has been one of the most widely used tests to demonstrate allelopathic activity. Often, claims that a particular plant species inhibits the growth of another are based entirely on the seed germination response to solvent extracts of the suspected allelopathic plant; few of these tests are of value in demonstrating allelopathy under natural conditions. The veracity of the bioassay for evaluating naturally occurring compounds for phytotoxicity depends upon the physiological and biochemical response capacity of the bioassay organism and the mechanism(s) of action of the allelochemicals. The possibility that more than one allelochemical, acting in concert at very low concentrations, may be responsible for an observed allelopathic effect makes it imperative that bioassays be extremely sensitive to chemical growth perturbation agents. Among the many measures of phytotoxicity of allelochemicals, the inhibition (or stimulation) of seed germination, radicle elongation, and/or seedling growth have been the parameters of choice for most investigations. Few of these assays have been selected with the view towards the possible mechanism of the allelopathic effect.

Document Type





Allelopathy, bioassay, Lemna bioassay, mechanism of action, radicle growth, seed germination, seedling growth

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Chemical Ecology