Allelopathic root inhibition and its mechanisms.
Allelopathy represents a valuable biochemical strategy in plant-plant interactions among different plants, e.g. among crops and weeds. It is an important strategy in the colonization of many invasive alien plants. Allelopathic plants affect the growth of other plants in the vicinity through the release of secondary metabolites (allelochemicals) into the soil. In particular, many allelochemicals suppress the root growth of target plants, but little is known about the mechanism involved in root growth inhibition. In this review, we will highlight the mechanism of root suppression involving: (i) Alterations in auxin homeostasis affecting polar auxin transport and root gravitropism, (ii) Biochemical and physiological processes in inhibited roots associated with oxidative stress due to direct production and accumulation of reactive oxygen species or suppression of antioxidative response and (iii) The ultrastructural modifications in root tip exposed to allelochemicals that drastically suppress the cell division and eventually lead to shorter roots of target plants.