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Potential allelopathic effects of the tropical legume Sesbania virgata on the alien Leucaena leucocephala related to seed carbohydrate metabolism

Mignoni, DaianeSalete Broch, Simões, Kelly, Braga, MarciaRegina
Biological invasions 2018 v.20 no.1 pp. 165-180
Leucaena leucocephala, Sesbania, abscisic acid, allelochemicals, allelopathy, carbohydrate metabolism, catechin, ecological invasion, galactomannans, germination, growth chambers, indigenous species, introduced plants, invasive species, leachates, legumes, oligosaccharides, phytopharmaceuticals, phytotoxicity, seeds
Allelopathy has been considered a key mechanism to explain the invasiveness of some species. It is well known that invasive plants can affect native plants by producing novel allelochemicals but some exotic plant species may be also sensitive to allelochemicals released by native species, providing a tool to reduce growth and impacts of invasive exotic species. Here, using growth chamber experiments we tested the mutual potential allelopathic effects of Sesbania virgata (a native dominant species) and the alien Leucaena leucocephala seeds. S. virgata was unaffected by seed leachates of L. leucocephala, indicating that, under lab conditions, this legume presents resistance to the phytotoxic compounds produced by seeds of this alien species. In contrast, germination and seedling growth of L. leucocephala were strongly affected by the phytochemicals produced by seeds of S. virgata. A delay in endospermic mobilization of storage carbohydrates (raffinose-family oligosaccharides and galactomannan) was observed in the alien species. These potential allelopathic effects could not be attributed sole to the presence neither of the phytoxic catechin nor of ABA in seed leachates of S. virgata. Our findings indicate that the in vitro behavior of S. virgata is consistent with its aggressiveness in natural environment and suggest sesbanimide as a potential candidate as implicated in the noxious effects of S. virgata on the alien species.