, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 61–71 | Cite as

Identification of aqueous extracts from Artemisia ordosica and their allelopathic effects on desert soil algae

  • Xiangjun Zhou
  • Yurui Zhang
  • Xiaoliang An
  • Roberto De Philippis
  • Xinyue Ma
  • Chaoran Ye
  • Lanzhou ChenEmail author
Original Article


Desert vascular plants coexist extensively with biological soil crusts (BSCs) in arid lands, but limited information is known about the impacts of shrub litterfall on soil microalgae. In this study, the components of aqueous extracts (AEs) from Artemisia ordosica leaves were identified, and the growth and physiological responses of two BSC-dominated algae, namely, Chlorella vulgaris and Nostoc sp., to AEs were investigated. The AEs contained humic and fulvic acid-like fluorescence components with high aromaticity. They also comprised four main chemical components, namely alcohols, phenols, organic acids and saccharides. Low AE concentrations enhanced the growth rate and chlorophyll fluorescence yield of C. vulgaris. Conversely, high AE concentrations inhibited the growth and photosynthetic activities of both soil microalgae, resulting from the decrease of superoxide dismutase and catalase activities and the accumulation of reactive oxygen species and malondialdehyde contents. The tolerance concentration of the green alga C. vulgaris to the AEs was greater than that of the cyanobacterium Nostoc sp. The AEs from A. ordosica exerted different degrees of stimulatory or inhibitory effects on the growth rates and physiological activities of Nostoc sp. and C. vulgaris, which might affect soil microalgal community structure and BSC formation in drylands. This study reveals the response mechanisms of soil algae to shrub leachates and improves our understanding of the role of vascular plants in shaping BSC communities.


Allelopathy Aqueous extracts Oxidative damage Photosynthesis Soil microalgae 



The authors thank Mr. Gaohong Wang (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and the Freshwater Algae Culture Collection at the Institute of Hydrobiology (FACHB-collection) for kindly providing the two strains. This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31370421 and 31870432), the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2018YFC1801703), the Hubei Provincial Technical Innovation Project (Major projects, 2016ACA162) and the Special Fund for Forest Scientific Research in the Public Welfare (201404204).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiangjun Zhou
    • 1
  • Yurui Zhang
    • 1
  • Xiaoliang An
    • 2
  • Roberto De Philippis
    • 3
  • Xinyue Ma
    • 1
  • Chaoran Ye
    • 1
  • Lanzhou Chen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Resource and Environmental Sciences, Hubei Key Laboratory of Biomass, Resources Chemistry and Environmental BiotechnologyWuhan UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Inner Mongolia Academy of ForestryHohhotPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of Agrifood Production and Environmental SciencesFlorence UniversityFlorenceItaly

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