Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 35, Issue 8, pp 970–979 | Cite as

Variations in Allelochemical Composition of Leachates of Different Organs and Maturity Stages of Pinus halepensis

  • Catherine Fernandez
  • Yogan Monnier
  • Elena Ormeño
  • Virginie Baldy
  • Stéphane Greff
  • Vanina Pasqualini
  • Jean-Philippe Mévy
  • Anne Bousquet-Mélou


We investigated changes in the occurrence of allelochemicals from leachates of different Pinus halepensis organs taking into account the stages of pine stand age (i.e., young  < 15-years-old, middle age ± 30-years, and old  > 60-years-old). GC-MS analysis of aqueous extracts revealed approx. 59 components from needles and roots. The major constituents were divided into different phytochemical groups—phenolics (50%), fatty acids (44%), and terpenoids. Further analyses were carried out to characterize the distribution of allelochemicals in different organs and P. halepensis successional stages. Roots and needles had two distinct chemical profiles, while needle leachates were composed mainly of oxygenated terpenoids (e.g., α-eudesmol, α-cadinol, and α-terpineol). Roots mainly contained fatty acids. Needles from young pine stands had the highest content of monoterpenes, suggesting their role as potential allelochemicals that could help young pine stands to establish. Pooling the different functional chemical groups showed that needles and, to a lesser extent, old roots, had higher chemical diversity than the roots of young and medium-aged pines. The highest diversity in phenolic constituents and fatty acids was in young needles (Dchem = 2.38). Finally, caffeic acid, a compound that has allelopathic properties was found in aqueous extracts at high concentrations in both young needles and old roots. The role of this compound in mediation of biological interactions in P. halepensis ecosystem functioning is discussed.


Pinus halepensis Miller Allepo pine Phenolic compounds Terpenoids Needles Roots Soil Allelopathy 



This study was funded by the CNRS within the framework of the Zone Atelier “Arrière-pays Méditerranéen”. We are grateful to the Luberon Natural Regional Park. The authors are indebted to many private owners who granted permission for work in their forest. We also thank, Prof David Mouillot (University of Montpellier II) for his help in statistical analysis and Stephanie Jim from University of California, Berkeley for proofreading the English.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Fernandez
    • 1
  • Yogan Monnier
    • 1
  • Elena Ormeño
    • 3
  • Virginie Baldy
    • 1
  • Stéphane Greff
    • 1
  • Vanina Pasqualini
    • 2
  • Jean-Philippe Mévy
    • 1
  • Anne Bousquet-Mélou
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut Méditerranéen d’Ecologie et Paléoécologie (IMEP)-UMR CNRS 6116, Equipe DFCVAix-Marseille UniversitéCedex 03France
  2. 2.Sciences Pour l’Environnement—UMR CNRS 6134, Equipe Feux, Université de CorseFaculté des Sciences et TechniquesCorteFrance
  3. 3.Division of Ecosystem Sciences, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (ESPM)Berkeley University of California251A Mulford Hall BerkeleyUSA

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