Phytotoxic potential of Senna occidentalis (L.) link extracts on seed germination and oxidative stress of Ipê seedlings.
Senna occidentalis is an invasive plant producing a series of allelochemicals that might inhibit the development of other plants. The objective of this study was to assess the phytotoxic effect of S. occidentalis extracts on the germination, development and antioxidant defence of the native species Tabebuia chrysotricha, T. pentaphylla, T. roseoalba and Handroanthus impetiginosus (Ipê species). We evaluated the effects of chemicals extracted from S. occidentalis on the germination rate, germination speed index (GSI) and biometric parameters of the test species under controlled conditions. The effect of the extracts on the pigment content, amount of H2O2 and malondialdehyde (MDA), and the activity of the antioxidant enzymes in roots and leaves were also tested. Alkaloids, coumarins, phenols, saponins, free steroids and condensed tannins were present in all extracts of S. occidentalis, while catechins were present only in leaf and stem extracts. Stem and root extracts caused a growth reduction in all Ipê species and total inhibition of seed germination in T. chrysotricha and T. roseoalba. All target species showed an increase in H2O2 and MDA in radicles and leaves. Oxidative stress contributed strongly to the morphological changes, such as seed blackening, thinning and darkening of radicle tips and reduction of biomass allocation in all Ipê species. Although there was activation of antioxidant defence mechanisms, such as an increase in activity of ascorbate peroxidase (APX) and peroxidase (POD) enzymes, the joint action of the allelochemicals caused phytotoxicity, leading to cell dysfunction in all Ipê species.