Physiological and Biochemical Responses of Lettuce to Thymol, as Allelochemical
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Nowadays, allelopathic investigations have focused to identify action mechanisms of this compounds on target organisms in natural habitats. It may tend to introduce new natural herbicides and pesticides for replacing the synthetic ones. In the present study, the allelopathic effects of thymol on lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) as a model plant were investigated in physiological and biochemical aspects. At the first stage, the effect of different concentrations of thymol on some growth parameters, including seed germination, radicle and plumule growth were evaluated to determine the optimum concentration for the continuation of our experiment. Then, the lettuce seedlings were cultured in pots containing peat and were irrigated with Hoagland nutrient solution supplemented with thymol at the concentration of 50 and 100 μg/mL. The effect of these treatments on physiological, biochemical aspects of the plant were studied following the plant growth. The results showed whereas, the shoot fresh and dry weights and photosynthetic rate in the treated group were decreased significantly compared to the control group at P ≤ 0.05, photochemical efficiency of photosystem II, total protein concentration, proline content and the activity of some antioxidant enzymes such as polyphenol oxidase, ascorbate peroxidase and catalase were increased in treated plants than control ones. However, there was no significantly change in chlorophyll content in treated group than control. It can be concluded that the thymol as an allelochemical caused some physiological and biochemical responses in the lettuce which are much similar to induced responses under abiotic stress. Indeed, it induces a kind of stress named as allelochemical stress.
KeywordsLactuca sativa thymol allelopathy ascorbate peroxidase polyphenol oxidase catalase
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