Allelochemical activity of eugenol-derived coumarins on Lactuca sativa L.
Coumarins are widely distributed substances in plant species that promote phytotoxic effects, allowing them to be exploited as herbicides less harmful to the environment, since many invasive species have demonstrated resistance to commercially available products. The derived coumarins used in this study had not been tested in plant models and their effect on plants was unknown. The objective of this study was to evaluate the phytotoxic action of these coumarins in bioassays with Lactuca sativa L., in order to select the most responsive substance whose toxicity was best elucidated by chromosomal complement and enzymatic antioxidant metabolism studies. From the phytotoxicity assays, coumarin 8-methoxy-2-oxo-6-(prop-2-en-1-yl)-2H-chromene-3-carboxylic acid (A1), reported here for the first time, was selected as the most responsive and caused a reduction in the following parameters: number of normal seedlings, fresh biomass, root length and shoot length. Subsequent studies demonstrated that this coumarin is cytogenotoxic due to damage caused to the cell cycle and the occurrence of chromosomal abnormalities. However, it did not interfere with antioxidant enzyme activity and did not cause lipid peroxidation. The changes caused by coumarin A1 described herein can contribute to better understanding the allelochemical actions of coumarins and the potential use of these substances in the production of natural herbicides.