Skip to main content

The Phytotoxic Potential of the Terpenoid Citral on Seedlings and Adult Plants

  • Elisa Graña (a1), Tamara Sotelo (a2), Carla Díaz-Tielas (a1), Manuel J. Reigosa (a1) and Adela M. Sánchez-Moreiras (a1)...

Citral is a monoterpene commonly found as volatile component in many different aromatic plants. Although many studies have identified the presence of citral in phytotoxic essential oils, this work determines for the first time the potential herbicidal effect of citral on weeds. The use of citral against weeds and crops resulted in the potential for the management of barnyardgrass, redroot pigweed, and ribwort. Clear morphological differences were observed between adult thale cress plants exposed to citral in two different application methods: spraying and watering. Citral-sprayed and citral-watered thale cress plants showed completely different effects after treatment, suggesting that foliar or root absorption can determine the effectiveness of this compound. This work demonstrates that citral is effective not only on seedling metabolism but also on adult plants by inhibiting growth and development altering the plant oxidative status.

Corresponding author
Corresponding author's E-mail:
Hide All
Aspinall, D. and Paleg, L. G. 1981. Proline accumulation. Physiological aspects. Pp. 206241 in Paleg, L. G. and Aspinall, D., eds. Physiology and Biochemistry of Drought Resistance. Sydney, Australia Academic.
Bates, L., Waldren, R. P., and Teare, I. D. 1973. Rapid determination of free proline for water stress studies. Plant Soil. 39:205207.
Bilger, W. and Björkman, O. 1990. Role of the xanthophyll cycle in photoprotection elucidated by measurements of light-induced absorbance changes, fluorescence and photosynthesis in Hedera canariensis . Photosynth. Res. 25:173185.
deBoer, G. J., Thornburgh, S., Gilbert, J., and Gast, R. E. 2011. The impact of uptake, translocation and metabolism on the differential selectivity between blackgrass and wheat for the herbicide pyroxsulam. Pest Manag. Sci. 67:279286.
Bosnic, A. C. and Swanton, C. J. 1997. Influence of barnyardgrass (Echinochloa crus-galli) time of emergence and density on corn (Zea mays). Weed Sci. 45:276282.
Chaimovitsh, D., Abu-Abied, M., Belausov, E., Rubin, B., Dudai, N., and Sadot, E. 2010. Microtubules are an intracellular target of the plant terpene citral. Plant J. 61:399408.
Chaimovitsh, D., Rogovoy, O., Altshuler, O., Belausov, E., Abu-Abied, M., Rubin, B., Sadot, E., and Dudai, N. 2011. The relative effect of citral on mitotic microtubules in wheat roots and BY2 cells. Plant Biol. 14:354364.
Chiapusio, G., Sánchez, A. M., Reigosa, M. J., González, L., and Pellisier, F. 1997. Do germination indices adequately reflect allelochemical effects on the germination process? J. Chem. Ecol. 23:24452453.
Concenço, G., Silva, A. F., Ferreira, E. A., Galon, L., Noldin, J. A., Aspiazú, I., Ferreira, F. A., and Silva, A. A. 2009. Effect of dose and application site on quinclorac absorption by barnyardgrass biotypes. Planta Daninha 27:541548.
Dayan, F. E. and Duke, S. O. 2009. Biological activity of allelochemicals. Pp. 361384 in Osbourn, A. E. and Lanzotti, V., eds. Plant-Derived Natural Products. New York, NY Springer Science.
Dayan, F. E., Romagni, J. G., and Duke, S. O. 2000. Investigating the mode of action of natural phytotoxins. J. Chem. Ecol. 26:20792094.
Demmig-Adams, B., Adams, W. W. III, Logan, B. A., and Verhoeven, A. S. 1995. Xanthophyll-cycle–dependent energy dissipation and flexible photosystem II efficiency in plants acclimated to light stress. Aust. J. Plant Physiol. 22:249260.
Dhindsa, R. S., Dhindsa, P. P., and Thorpe, T. A. 1981. Leaf senescence: correlated with increased level of membrane permeability and lipid peroxidation, and decreased levels of superoxide dismutase and catalase. J. Exp. Bot. 32:93101.
Dias, L. S. 2001. Describing phytotoxic effects on cumulative germination. J. Chem. Ecol. 27:411418.
Dikusar, E. A., Zhukovskaya, N. A., Moiseichuk, K. L., Zalesskaya, E. G., Vyglazov, O., and Kurman, P. V. 2008. Synthesis and structure—aroma correlation of citral oxide esters. Chem. Nat. Compd. 44:8183.
Djorjdevic, D., Cercaci, L., Alamed, J., McClements, D. J., and Decker, E. A. 2008. Stability of citral in protein- and gum Arabic-stabilized oil-in-water emulsions. Food Chem. 106:698705.
Dudai, N., Poljakoff-Mayber, A., Mayer, A. M., Putievsky, E., and Lerner, H. R. 1999. Essential oils as allelochemicals and their potential use as bioherbicides. J. Chem. Ecol. 25:10791089.
Duke, S. O., Rimando, A., Scheffler, B., and Dayan, F. E. 2002. Strategies for research in applied aspects of allelopathy. Pp. 139152 in Reigosa, M. J. and Pedrol, N., eds. Allelopathy: From Molecules to Ecosystems. Plymouth, UK Science Publishers.
Feller, U., Anders, I., and Mae, T. 2008. Rubiscolytics: fate of Rubisco after its enzymatic function in a cell is terminated. J. Exp. Bot. 59:16151624.
Filella, I., Serrano, L., Serra, J., and Peñuelas, J. 1995. Evaluating wheat nitrogen status with canopy reflectance indices and discriminant analysis. Crop Sci. 35:14001405.
Finkelstein, R. and Rock, C. 2002. Abscisic acid biosynthesis and response. Pp. 152 in Meyerowitz, E. M. and Somerville, C. R., eds. The Arabidopsis Book. Cold Spring Harbor, NY Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
Genty, B., Briantais, J. M., and Baker, N. R. 1989. The relationship between quantum yield of photosynthetic electron transport and quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 990:8792.
Gibson, K. D., Fischer, A. J., Foin, T. C., and Hill, J. E. 2002. Implications of delayed Echinochloa spp. germination and duration of competition for integrated weed management in water-seeded rice. Weed Res. 42:351358.
Gomathinayagam, M., Anuradha, V. E., Zhao, C., Ayoola, G. A., Abdul Jaleel, C., and Anneerse, R. P. 2009. ABA and GA3 affect the growth and pigment composition in Andrographis paniculata Wall. ex Nees. an important folk herb. Front. Biol. (Beijing, China) 4:337341.
Griffin, S., Wyllie, S. G., and Markham, J. 1999. Determination of octanol-water partition coefficient for terpenoids using reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography. J. Chromatogr. A 864:221228.
Hare, P. D. and Cress, W. A. 1997. Metabolic implications of stress-induced proline accumulation in plants. Plant Growth Regul. 21:79102.
Havaux, M. and Kloppstech, K. 2001. The protective functions of carotenoid and flavonoid pigments against excess visible radiation at chilling temperature investigated in Arabidopsis npq and tt mutants. Planta 213:953966.
Hoagland, R. E. and Williams, R. D. 2004. Bioassays—useful tools for the study of allelopathy. Pp. 315351 in Macías, F. A., Galindo, J.C.G., Molinillo, J.M.G., and Cutler, H. G., eds. Allelopathy: Chemistry and Mode of Action of Allelochemicals. Boca Raton, FL CRC.
Hodges, D. M., DeLong, J. M., Forney, C. F., and Prange, R. K. 1999. Improving the thiobarbituric acid-reactive-substances assay for estimating lipid peroxidation in plant tissues containing anthocyanin and other interfering compounds. Planta 207:604611.
Inderjit. 2001. Soil: environmental effects on allelochemical activity. Agron. J. 93:7984.
Kramer, D. M., Johnson, G., Kiirats, O., and Edwards, G. E. 2004. New fluorescence parameters for the determination of QA redox state and excitation energy fluxes. Photosynth. Res. 79:209218.
Lim, P. O., Woo, H. R., and Nam, H. G. 2003. Molecular genetics of leaf senescence in Arabidopsis . Trends Plant Sci. 6:272278.
Long, F. L. and Clements, F. E. 1934. The method of collodion films for stomata. Am. J. Bot. 21:717.
Lycan, D. W. and Hart, S. E. 2006. Foliar and root absorption and translocation of bispyribac-sodium in cool-season turfgrass. Weed Technol. 20:10151022.
Macías, F. A., Molinillo, M.J.G., Castellano, D., and Velasco, R. F. 1999. Sesquiterpene lactones with potential use as natural herbicide models (I): trans, trans-germacranolide. J. Agric. Food Chem. 47:44074414.
Martínez-Peñalver, A., Reigosa, M. J., and Sánchez-Moreiras, A. M. 2011. Imaging chlorophyll a fluorescence reveals specific spatial distributions under different stress conditions. Flora 206:836844.
Maxwell, K. and Johnson, G. N. 2000. Chlorophyll fluorescence—a practical guide. J. Exp. Bot. 51:659668.
Noodén, L. D., Guiamet, J. J., and John, I. 1997. Senescence mechanisms. Physiol. Plant. 101:746753.
Owen, M.D.K. 1997. North American developments in herbicide tolerant crops. Proc. Brighton Conf. Weeds 3:955963.
Pedrol, N. and Ramos, P. 2001. Protein content quantification by Bradford method. Pp. 283296 in Reigosa, M. J., ed. Handbook of Plant Ecophysiology Techniques. Dordrecht, The Netherlands Kluwer Academic.
Rabbani, S. I., Devi, K., Khanam, S., and Zahra, N. 2006. Citral, a component of lemongrass oil inhibits the clastogenic effect of nickel chloride in mouse micronucleus test system. Pak. J. Pharm. Sci. 19:108113.
Thermina, A. and Rukhsana, B. 2005. Importance of germination indices in interpretation of allelochemical effects. Int. J. Agric. Biol. 7:417419.
Van Acker, F.A.A., Schouten, O., Haenen, G.R.M.M., van der Vijgh, W.J.F., and Bast, A. 2000. Flavonoids can replace tocopherol as an antioxidant. FEBS Lett. 473:145148.
Wellburn, A. R. 1994. The spectral determination of chlorophylls a and b, as well as total carotenoids, using various solvents with spectrophotometers of different resolution. J. Plant Physiol. 144:307313.
Wingler, A., Marès, M., and Pourtau, N. 2004. Spatial patterns and metabolic regulation of photosynthetic parameters during leaf senescence. New Phytol. 161:781789.
Yu, H., Chen, X., Hong, Y. Y., Wang, Y., Xu, P., Ke, S. D., Liu, H. Y., Zhu, J. K., Olive, D. J., and Xiang, C. B. 2008. Activated expression of an Arabidopsis HD-START protein confers drought tolerance with improved root system and reduced stomatal density. Plant Cell 20:11341151.
Zhang, L., Hu, G., Cheng, Y., and Huang, J. 2008. Heterotrimeric G protein α and β subunits antagonistically modulate stomatal density in Arabidopsis thaliana . Dev. Biol. 324:6875.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Weed Science
  • ISSN: 0043-1745
  • EISSN: 1550-2759
  • URL: /core/journals/weed-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed