Effects of three phenolic acids on chlorophyll content and growth of soybean and grain sorghum seedlings


Experiments were designed to test the hypothesis that interference with chlorophyll metabolism may be one mechanism of inhibition of plant growth in allelopathic interactions. Effects of ferulic, p-coumaric, and vanillic acids on soybean and grain sorghum growth and chlorophyll content were quantified and compared after seedlings were treated with these compounds in a nutrient culture. Following a 6-day treatment cycle, dry weights of soybean seedlings were reduced by both 10-3 M and 5 × 10-4 M treatments of ferulic, p-coumaric and vanillic acids. Soybean weight reductions in each case were paralleled by a significant reduction in the concentration (μg Chl/mg dry wt) of chlorophylls a and b and total chlorophyll in the unifoliate leaves. Sorghum seedling growth was also reduced by each of the compounds at the 5 × 10-4 M level, but leaf chlorophyll concentration was not below that of control plants.

Document Type





allelopathy, chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, Ferulic acid, inhibitors, p-coumaric acid, sorghum, soybean, vanillic acid

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Chemical Ecology