Plant and Soil

, Volume 336, Issue 1–2, pp 485–497 | Cite as

Allelopathic effects of root exudates from watermelon and rice plants on Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. niveum

Regular Article


Root exudates have a key role in communication between plants and microbes in the rhizosphere. Fusarium wilt of watermelon, caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum (Fusarium oxysporum), drastically reduces watermelon yields in continuous cultivation systems, but it can be significantly alleviated using watermelon/aerobic rice intercropping system as shown by the research carried out in this laboratory. It is important to evaluate the interaction between root exudates from the two crops and the pathogen and thus to clarify the mechanism of disease suppressiveness in the intercropping system. The effects of phenolic acids, sugars and free amino acids in root exudates from watermelon (REW) and rice (RER) on the growth of Fusarium oxysporum were studied. The results obtained are listed as follows: (1) REW significantly increased spore germination and sporulation, whereas RER had inhibitory effects on those two parameters. (2) HPLC analysis showed that salicylic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid and phthalic acid were identified in exudates from both plants, but p-coumaric acid was only detected in rice and ferulic acid only in watermelon. Moreover, of the total rice exudates a high proportion (37.9 %) of p-coumaric acid was detected and the total amount of phenolic acids was 1.4-fold as high as that in watermelon. (3) Considerable differences in the components and contents of both sugars and amino acids were found between REW and RER exudates. (4) Exogenously applied alanine (Ala) increased spore germination and sporulation. In contrast, addition of exogenous p-coumaric acid reduced spore germination and sporulation, relative to controls. It was concluded that the rice root exudates had anti-fungal properties while that from watermelon promoted pathogen growth. This discovery provided a scientific basis for practicing watermelon/aerobic rice intercropping to control Fusarium wilt in watermelon.


Watermelon Rice Root exudates Phenolic acids Soluble sugar Amino acids Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. niveum 



We gratefully acknowledge National Nature Science Foundation of China (30871599, 40871126) for its funding of this project and we also thank Dr Tony Miller at Rothamsted Research, UK for his careful revision of this manuscript.


  1. Anaya AL (1999) Allelopathy as a tool in the management of biotic resources in agroecosystems. Crit Rev Plant Sci 18:697–739CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bais HP, Walker TS, Schweizer HP, Vivanco JM (2002) Root specific elicitation and antimicrobial activity of rosmarinic acid in hairy root cultures of sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.). Plant Physiol Biochem 40:9837CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bais HP, Fall R, Vivanco JM (2004a) Biocontrol of Bacillus subtilis against infection of Arabidopsis roots by Pseudomonas syringae is facilitated by biofilm formation and surfactin production. Plant Physiol 134:307–319CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bais HP, Park SW, Weir TL, Callaway RM, Vivanco JM (2004b) How plants communicate using the under-ground information superhighway. Trends Plant Sci 9:23–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bais HP, Weir TL, Perry LG, Gilroy S, Vivanco JM (2006) The role of root exudates in rhizosphere interactions with plants and other organisms. Annu Rev Plant Biol 57:233–266CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bais HP, Broeckling CD, Vivanco JM (2008) Root exudates modulate plant–microbe interactions in the rhizosphere. In Karlovsky P (ed) Secondary metabolites in soil ecology. Springer Verlag, pp. 241–252Google Scholar
  7. Batish DR, Lavanya K, Singh HP, Kohli RK (2007) Root-mediated allelopathic interference of Nettle-leaved Goosefoot (Chenopodium murale) on wheat (Triticum aestivum). J AgronCrop Sci 193:37–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bertin C, Yang X, Weston LA (2003) The role of root exudates and allelochemicals in the rhizosphere. Plant Soil 256:67–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Booth C (1971) The Genus Fusarium. Commonwealth Mycological Institute, Kew, Surrey, England, pp. 32–35Google Scholar
  10. Booth JA (1969) Gossypaum harsutum tolerance to Verticillium dahliae infection I. Amino acids exudation from aseptic roots of tolerant and susceptible cotton. Phytopathology 59:43–46Google Scholar
  11. Brencic A, Winans SC (2005) Detection of and response to signals involved in host-microbe interactions by plant-associated bacteria. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev 69:155–194CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Broeckling CD, Broz AK, Bergelson J, Manter DK, Vivanco JM (2008) Root exudates regulate soil fungal community composition and diversity. Appl Environ Microbiol 74:738–744CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Chu GX, Shen QR, Cao JL (2004) N2 fixation and N transfer from peanut to rice cultivated in aerobic soil in an intercropping system and its effects on soil N fertility. Plant Soil 263(1–2):17–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chung IM, Ahn JK, Yun SJ (2001) Identification of allelopathic compounds from rice (Oryza sative L.) straw and their biological activity. Can J Plant Sci 81:815–819Google Scholar
  15. D’Auria JC, Gershenzon J (2005) The secondary metabolism of Arabidopsis thaliana: growing like a weed. Curr Opin Plant Biol 8:308CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Dixon RA (2001) Natural products and plant disease resistance. Nature 411:843–847CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Fu ZD (2004) Metabolism. In Zhang ZL, Qu WQ (eds) Experiments of plant physiology. Higher Education Press, pp. 127–129 (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  18. Gan YT, Siddique KHM, MacLeod WJ, Jayakumar P (2006) Management options for minimizing the damage by ascochyta blight (Ascochyta rabiei) in chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.). Field Crops Res 97:121–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gil SV, Harob R, Oddinoc C, Kearneyc M, Zuzac M, Marinellic A, March GJ (2008) Crop management practices in the control of peanut diseases caused by soil-borne fungi. Crop Prot 27:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gómez-Rodrígueza O, Zavaleta-Mejíaa E, González-Hernándezb VA (2003) Allelopathy and microclimatic modification of intercropping with marigold on tomato early blight disease development. Field Crops Res 83:27–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Govaerts B, Fuentes M, Mezzalama M, Nicol JM, Deckers J, Etchevers JD, Figueroa-Sandoval B, Sayre KD (2007) Infiltration, soil moisture, root rot and nematode populations after 12 years of different tillage, residue and crop rotation managements. Soil Tillage Res 94:209–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Han X, Pan K, Wu FZ (2006) Effect of root exudates from cucumber cultivars on the growth of Fusarium oxysporum. China Veg 5:13–15 (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  23. Jones DL, Hodge A, and Kuzyakov Y (2004) Plant and mycorrhizal regulation of rhizodeposition. New Phytol 163:459–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kato-Noguchi H, Ino T (2003) Rice seedlings release momilactone B into the environment. Phytochemistry 63:551–554CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Kato-Noguchi H, Ino T (2005) Concentration and release level of momilactone B in the seedlings of eight rice cultivars. J Plant Physiol 162:965–969PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Kato-Noguchi H, Ino T (2008) Secretion of momilactone A from rice roots to the rhizosphere. J Plant Physiol 165:691–696CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Kato-Noguchi H, Ino T, Sata N, Yamamura S (2002) Isolation and identification of a potent allelopathic substance in rice root exudates. Physiol Plant 115:401–405CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Kato-Noguchia H, Hasegawab M, Inoa T, Otaa K and Kujimea H (2010a) Contribution of momilactone A and B to rice allelopathy. J Plant Physiol 167:787–791CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kato-Noguchia H, Ino T, Kujime H (2010b) The relation between growth inhibition and secretion level of momilactone B from rice root. J Plant Interact 5:87–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kim JT, Kim SH (2002) Screening of allelochemicals on barnyard grass (Echinochloa crus-galli) and identification of potentially allelopathic compounds from rice (Oryza sativa) variety hull extracts. Crop Prot 21:913–920CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kim KU, Shin DH (eds) (2000) Rice allelopathy. Kyungpook National University, Taegu, pp 57–82Google Scholar
  32. Kong CH (2007) Chemical interactions between plant and other organisms: a potential strategy for pest management. Scientia Agricultura Sinica 40(4):712–720 (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  33. Kong CH, Xu XH, Hu F, Chen XH, Ling B, Tan ZW (2002) Using specific secondary metabolites as markers to evaluate allelopathic potentials of rice varieties and individual plants. Chin Sci Bull 47:839–843CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kong CH, Xu XH, Zhou B, Hu F, Zhang CX, Zhang MX (2004) Two compounds from allelopathic rice accession and their inhibitory activity on weeds and fungal pathogens. Phytochemistry 65:1123–1128CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Kuwatsuka S, Shindo H (1973) Behavior of phenolic substances in the decaying process of plants. I. Identification and quantitative determination of phenolic acids in rice straw and its decayed product by gas chromatography. Soil Sci Plant Nutr 19:219–227Google Scholar
  36. Li XG, Liu B, Sondre Heia, Liu DD, Han ZM, Zhou KX, Cui JJ, Luo JY, Zheng YP (2009) The effect of root exudates from two transgenic insect-resistant cotton lines on the growth of Fusarium oxysporum. Transgenic Res inpress.doi: 10.1007/s11248-009-9264-1
  37. Lin WX, He HB, Xiong J, Shen LH, Wu MH, Lin RY, He HQ, Liang YY, Li ZW, Chen T (2006) Advance in the investigation of rice allelopathy and its molecular ecology. Acta Ecologica Sinica 26(8):2687–2694 (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  38. Pavloua GC, Vakalounakis DJ (2005) Biological control of root and stem rot of greenhouse cucumber, caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. radicis-cucumerinum, by lettuce soil amendment. Crop Prot 24:135–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ren LX, Su SM, Yang XM, Xu YC, Huang QW, Shen QR (2008) Intercropping with aerobic rice suppressed Fusarium wilt in watermelon. Soil Biol Biochem 40:834–844CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rimando AM, Olofsdotter M, Dayan FE, Duke SO (2001) Searching for rice allelochemicals: an example of bioassay-guided isolation. Agron J 93:16–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Shen QR, Chu GX (2004) Bi-directional N transfer in the intercropping system of peanut with rice cultivated in aerobic soil. Biol Fertil Soils 40:81–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sun P, Yuuko T, Hideyuki M (2004) Antifungal compounds from the root and root exudates of Zea mays. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 68(6):1366–1368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Walker TS, Bais HP, Grotewold E, Vivanco JM (2003) Root exudation and rhizosphere biology. Plant Physiol 132:44–51CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Wang DL, Ma RX, Liu XF (2000) A preliminary study on the allelopathic activity of rice germplasm. Scientia Agricultura Sinica 33(3):94–96 (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  45. Watanabe I, Espinas CR, Berja NS, Alimaguo BV (1977) The utilization of the Azolla Anabaena complex as nitrogen fertilizer. Int Rice Res Pap Ser 11:1–5Google Scholar
  46. Weir TL, Park SW, Vivanco JM (2004) Biochemical and physiological mechanisms mediated by allelochemicals. Curr Opin Plant Biol 7:472–479CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Wu FZ, Meng LJ and Wen JZ (2002) Effects of root exudates of cucumber on mycelium growth of Fusarium wilt. China Veg 5:26–27 (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  48. Wu FZ, Han X, Wang XZ (2006) Allelopathic effect of root exudates of cucumber cultivars on Fusarium oxysporum. Allelopathy J 18(1):163–172Google Scholar
  49. Wu YX, Shen XJ, Fang WP (2007) The effects of cotton root exudates on growth and development of Verticillium dahliae. Cotton Sci 19(4):286–290 (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  50. Xu Z H, He Y, Zhu C Q, Yu GS (2005) Inhibitory effects of allelopathic rice materials on Echinochloa crusgalli and related field weeds. Chin J Appl Ecol 16(4):726–731 (In Chinese)Google Scholar
  51. Yao J, Allen C (2006) Chemotaxis is required for virulence and competitive fitness of the bacterial wilt pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum. J Bacteriol 188:3697–3708CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Yu JQ (1999) Allelopahtic suppression of Pseudomonas solanacearum infection of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) in atomato-chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) intercropping system. J Chem Ecol 25(11):2409–2417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Yuan HX, Li HL, Wang Y, Fang WP, Wang ZY (2002) The root exudates of cotton cultivars with the different resistance and their effects on Verticillium dahliae. Acta Phytopathol Sin 2(2):127–131 (In Chinese)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wen-ya Hao
    • 1
  • Li-xuan Ren
    • 1
  • Wei Ran
    • 1
  • Qi-rong Shen
    • 1
  1. 1.Jiangsu Key Laboratory for State Organic Waste UtilizationNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingChina

Personalised recommendations