Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Identification of octanal as plant growth inhibitory volatile compound released from Heracleum sosnowskyi fruit.

Abstract

Heracleum sosnowskyi Manden of the Apiaceae family is a malignant invasive plant in Eastern Europe, Belarus and Russia. The species is known for its prolific seed production, which has been linked to the plant's invasive success. The fruit also has a strong aroma, but the contribution of the fruit's volatile constituent to out-compete neighboring plants has not been fully established. In this study, fruit volatiles of H. sosnowskyi and conspecifics (i.e. H. asperum, H. lescovii, H. dissectum, H. hirtum) were identified by headspace gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (HS-GC-MS). Octyl acetate, octanol, octanal, hexyl isobutyrate, and hexyl-2-methyl butyrate were found to be the principal volatiles. Using authentic standards, the growth-inhibitory property of the individual compounds was assayed by the novel Cotton swab method. Assay results with lettuce (Lactuca sativa) showed that octanal strongly inhibited seed germination and radicle elongation of seedlings. The results suggest that octanal may be the main contributor to the allelopathic activity of H. sosnowksyi fruits. Furthermore, the mixture of fruit volatiles from the invasive H. sosnowskyi more strongly delayed lettuce seedling elongation than the volatiles from fruits of the non-invasive H. asperum, H. lescovii, H. dissectum and H. hirtum. Thus, the present study is the first to demonstrate the possible involvement of fruit volatiles of Heracleum species in plant-plant interaction.