Aromatic plant Melissa officinalis extracts selectivity in various biomass crop and legume species
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Allelopathic effects of various plants can be exploited for use against weeds; however, the selectivity in different crops is also important. In the current study, the effects of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) allelochemicals on seed germination and seedling emergence of three biomass crops and three legume species were evaluated. Seed germination of rapeseed was reduced by 19, 30, 56, and 80% in the concentrations of 1, 2, 5 and 10%, respectively, as compared to the control group, whereas sweet sorghum seeds showed a more intermediate response and sunflower germination was affected only by the highest concentration. Seed germination of common bean was by 25, 34 and 60% lower at 1, 2 and 5% extract concentrations, respectively, in comparison to the control whereas up to 85% reduction of seed germination was recorded in 10% concentration. Peanut seed germination percentage ranged between 72 and 47% of control in 5 and 10% concentrations, respectively, while soybean germination was least affected from M. officinalis leaf extracts since it was reduced by only 25 and 41% in 5 and 10% concentrations, respectively, as compared to the control. Seedling emergence of rapeseed was reduced by 14, 25, 46, and 79% in the concentrations of 1, 2, 5 and 10%, respectively, as compared to the control whereas lemon balm extracts showed increased selectivity on the sunflower. Soybean emergence was reduced by only 27 and 46% in 5 and 10% concentrations, respectively, in comparison to the control whereas common bean’s seedling emergence was reduced up to 35% even in 2% concentration. Allelopathic response index values confirmed that sunflower and rapeseed were the least and most sensitive biomass crops to lemon balm allelochemicals, respectively, whereas sweet sorghum showed an intermediate response. Increased was the selectivity of the aqueous leaf extracts on soybean, whereas seed germination and seedling emergence of peanut were more affected and common bean was the most sensitive crop. Further research is needed to investigate the selectivity of M. officinalis and other aromatic plants’ allelochemicals on various crops and under different soil and climatic conditions to optimize their efficacy as tools of more eco-friendly weed management strategies.