Allelopathy in Poaceae species present in Brazil. A review

  • Adriana Favaretto
  • Simone M. Scheffer-Basso
  • Naylor B. Perez
Review Article


Allelopathy is an important ecological mechanism in natural and managed ecosystems. Its study is critical to understand natural plant behaviors, to isolate allelochemicals with herbicide potential, and to use the allelopathic genes in transgenic studies. Poaceae is an ecologically dominant plant family and it is economically important worldwide because its chemical diversity represents an important source to discover new molecules. From this viewpoint, Brazil is an interesting place to study, encompassing 197 genera of the Poaceae family, many of them being dominant in various biomes and some being native to Brazil. Here, we review the literature describing allelopathic activities involving grasses of the Poaceae family. We evaluate the experimental conditions used in these studies, we identify the allelochemicals involved, and, finally, we assess the applicability of allelopathy. Our main findings are (1) among the 47 Brazilian species studied for their allelopathic effects, only Bothriochloa barbinodis, Bothriochloa laguroides, Paspalum notatum, and Paspalum urvillei are native to Brazil; (2) 51% of the reviewed studies prepared extracts from the leaves and used lettuce as the target plant; and (3) 64% of the papers identified allelochemicals, of which 67% were phenolic acids. This first bibliographical survey on allelopathy in Poaceae species present in Brazil shows that less than 3% of the Brazilian species have been studied, suggesting it is an incipient research subject. Since this plant family is a valuable source of unknown natural products, refining such studies should contribute to a better understanding of the ecosystem relationships. Identification and isolation of grass allelochemicals should promote environmentally safer compounds with bioherbicide properties, in sustainable agriculture.


Allelochemicals Bioprospecting Grasses Native resources 


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© INRA and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adriana Favaretto
    • 1
  • Simone M. Scheffer-Basso
    • 1
  • Naylor B. Perez
    • 2
  1. 1.Universidade de Passo FundoPasso FundoBrazil
  2. 2.Embrapa Pecuária SulBagéBrazil

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