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Annals of Biological Research, 2013, 4 (6):76-79
(http://scholarsresearchlibrary.com/archive.html)
ISSN 0976-1233
CODEN (USA): ABRNBW

Allelopathic activity of medical plant, Cardaria draba (Lepidium draba L.)


Abdolhossein Miri1,2, Javad Sharifi Rad1,2*, Majid Sharifi Rad3,4 and Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva5
1

Zabol Medicinal Plants Research Center, Zabol University of Medical Sciences, Zabol, Iran
Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Zabol University of Medical Sciences, Zabol, Iran
3
Department of Range and Watershed Management, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Zabol, Iran
4
Department of Rangeland Science, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan,
Iran
5
Faculty of Agriculture and Graduate School of Agriculture, Kagawa University, Miki-cho, Kagawa, Japan
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2

ABSTRACT
The potential allelopathic effects of the ethanolic extract of Cardaria draba (Lepidium draba L.) seeds was
evaluated in vitro. The inhibitory effect of the extract at 0, 2.5, 5 and 10% (w/v) on germination and seedling growth
of two cultivated crops wheat (Hordeum vulgare) and common bean (Phaseolous vulgaris) and two weeds
redroot amaranth (Amaranthus retroflexus) and dandelion (Taraxicum officinalis) was tested. C. draba seed
extract affected all four test plants equally, with 2.5, 5 and 10% decreasing seed germination and seedling growth
(shoot and root length). This allelopathic effect of this herb may be related to the presence of allelochemicals,
including glucosinolate (GS), glucoerucin (4-methylation-butyl-GS), sinalbin (p-hydroxy-benzyl-GS) and
glucoraphanin (4-methylsulfinyl-butyl-GS).
Keywords: Cardaria draba, allelopathy, glucoerucin, inhibitory effect, Lepidium draba L.
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INTRODUCTION
Cardaria draba (Brassicaceae; syn. Lepidium draba (L). Link), commonly known as whitetop or hoary cress, is a
perennial herb that reproduces by seed and by horizontal creeping roots [1]. The stem is fairly stout, erect or
spreading, 10 to 80 cm tall, branched, covered sparsely to heavily with ash-colored soft hairs [1]. The leaves are
alternating, simple, and mostly toothed, basal leaves being 4 to 10 cm in length, have a slight stem (petiole), and are
long and flat, lance-shaped to egg- or spoon-shaped, with the narrow end attached to the stalk. On the upper part of
the stem, the leaves are attached directly to the stalk (sessile), are 2 to 6.5 cm long, and are oblong or with a tapering
point, with broad bases that clasp the rectangular stalk or stem [1]. C. draba has slightly domed, corymb-like flower
clusters in which the individual flower stalks grow upward from various points off the branch to approximately the
same height [1]. The petals are white, clawed, 3 to 5 mm long, and about twice as long as the sepals. The fruit is
egg- or heart-shaped. C. draba is native to western Asia, including Iran, and eastern Europe and is an invasive
species in North America, introduced by contaminated seeds in the early 1900s [1]. Infusion of C. draba leaves and
seeds has purgative and expectorant effects [2]. It can be found in most parts of Iran, in fields and adjacent to water
sources and in gardens and bare lands. C. draba can be found in a variety of soil types where moisture is adequate
[3]. It typically grows in a wide range of disturbed habitats including cultivated land, rangeland, pastures, along
roadsides, waste areas, and is known to particularly thrive in riparian or irrigated areas [4]. It reproduces
vegetatively and by seed, although established populations mostly rely on vegetative reproduction to increase plant
density. Seeds are produced in silicles, most of which contain 2 seeds with single shoots producing as many as 850
silicles [5].

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Glucoraphanin is a group of chemically-related compounds known as glucosinolates, which are sulfur- and nitrogencontaining compounds found in vegetative and reproductive tissues of Cruciferae (syn. Brassicaceae) and 15 other
dicotyledonous plant families, almost exclusively in species of the order Capparales [6]. More than 100
glucosinolates with different side chain structures have been described [7].
Allelopathy is a biological phenomenon by which an organism produces one or more biochemicals, the
allelochemicals, that influence the growth, survival, and reproduction of other organisms. Allelopathy, a competitive
strategy of plants, is an important mechanism of plant interference mediated by the addition of plant-produced
phytotoxins to the plant environment [8]. Allelochemicals can have beneficial (positive allelopathy) or detrimental
(negative allelopathy) effects on the target organisms [9] and are produced by plants as end-products, by-products
and metabolites that exist in the stems, leaves, roots, flowers, inflorescences, fruits and seeds [10]. The release of
allelochemicals into the environment acts on other organisms such as plants, including weeds, animals and
microorganisms to either inhibit or stimulate activity [11]. Allelochemicals can also suppress germination and
growth of different weed species [12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17]. Worldwide, enormous amounts of synthetic chemical
herbicides are used to manage weeds but they are often toxic and have environmental risks [18, 19]. Moreover, the
excessive use of artificial herbicides has led to the development of weed biotypes with herbicide resistance [19]. In a
global effort to reduce the amount of chemicals used in agricultural crop production without negatively affecting
productivity is through modern biological and ecological methods, and one possible solution is the use of allelopathy
to explore the negative chemical interaction between plants [20, 21]. Medicinal plants have been increasingly
explored for their allelopathic potential [22, 23]. Medicinal plants may contain bioactive compounds such as ferulic,
coumaric, vanillic, caffeic and chlorogenic acid that possess inhibitory activity [24]. The germination of some
traditional food crops was significantly reduced by the aqueous extracts of Saussaurea lappa and Potentilla fulgens
[25,11] found that 223 out of 239 medicinal plants tested had an allelopathic activity on lettuce.
This study aimed to assess the in vitro allelopathic potential of the ethanolic extract obtained from C. draba seeds on
the germination and seedling growth of wheat (Hordeum vulgare) and common bean (Phasaeolous vulgaris), a
monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous cultivated crop, respectively, and redroot amaranth (Amaranthus retroflexus)
and dandelion (Taraxicum officinalis) as two weeds.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Plant material
C. draba seeds were obtained from the Zabol Medicinal Plants Research Center, Zabol, Iran. The seeds of wheat
(Hordeum vulgare cv. Eram), bean (Phaseolous vulgaris cv. Naz), redroot amaranth (Amaranthus retroflexus) and
dandelion (Taraxicum officinalis) were purchased from a seed company, Pakan Bazr (Esfahan, Iran).
Cardaria draba seed extract
C. draba seeds were powdered with a knife mill. Ground sample (30 g) was mixed with 300 ml of 96% ethanol
using a shaking water bath for 24 h at room temperature. The extract was separated from solid concentrate by
filtering through Whatman No. 1 filter paper. The remaining residue was re-extracted twice and the extracts were
pooled. The solvent was removed under vacuum at 40C using a rotary vacuum evaporator (Laborota 4000,
Heidolph, Germany).
Bioassay
In order to detect the allelopathic effect of the C. draba seed extracts, dilutions were made of the original extract to
2.5 and 5% of the stock extract. Twenty seeds of each crop and weed were surface sterilized with a water-bleach
solution (95: 5) and were placed on sterilized filter paper in 6-cm diameter Petri dishes. 4 ml of each solution (i.e.,
concentration) was added to a separate Petri dish while distilled water served as the control. Petri dishes were placed
in the light (350 mol m-2 s-1) at 25C for 15 days. They were monitored daily and the evaporated contents were
compensated with distilled water. The number of germinated and non-germinated seeds was counted and final root
and shoot length were measured at the end of the 15th day (in mm). Seeds whose root emerged from the testa were
considered to have germinated.
Statistical analysis
The experimental design was a complete randomized design with four replications for each treatment. Data were
analyzed using SPSS v. 11.5 and mean comparisons were made following the LSD test at P 0.05.

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Fig. 1 Effect of different concentrations of C. draba seed extract on seed germination (A), root length (B) and shoot length (C) of the four
examined plants. Different letters show significant differences (for each parameter, between different extract concentrations and within
a single plant species) between means at P 0.05 (LSD test).
120

A
a

100

Phaseolus vulgaris

a
a

Amaranthus retroflexus
a

Taraxicum officinalis

80

Germination (%)

Hordeum vulgare

c
b

60
d

c
c

40

c
d

20

0
Control

2.5

100
90

80

b
b
a

70
Root length (mm).

10

60

d
50
40
30
20
10
0
Control

2.5

70

a
60
a
Shoot length (mm)

10

a
b

50

c
a

40

a
c

d
30
20
10
0
Control

2.5

10

Extract concentration (% )

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


An allelopathic effect of the seed extracts of C. draba, a medicinal herb was established in this study, impacting the
germination and seedling growth of four plants, two crops and two weeds. All concentrations (2.5, 5 and 10%) of the
ethanolic seed extract significantly (P 0.05) inhibited seed germination (Fig. 1 A) and caused a significant (P
0.05) decrease in seedling growth (assessed by shoot length and root length) of all four test plants (Fig. 1 B, C).
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Annals of Biological Research, 2013, 4 (6):76-79


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Only a single study exists on the phytochemistry of C. draba, the major compounds being identified as glucosinolate
(GS), glucoerucin (4-methylation-butyl-GS), sinalbin (p-hydroxy-benzyl-GS) and glucoraphanin (4-methylsulfinylbutyl-GS) [26]. This could be one explanation of the allelopathic effects of C. draba seed extract. A second possible
explanation relates to the lower water availability for seed germination due to binding water by compounds present
in an extract, which might reduce seed germination [26].
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