Phytochemistry & Ecology|

Herbicides are natural or synthetic chemicals used to control unwanted plants (weeds). To avoid the harmful effects of synthetic herbicides, considerable effort has been devoted to finding alternative products derived from natural sources. Essential oils (EOs) from aromatic plants are auspicious source of bioherbicides. This review discusses phytotoxic EOs and their chemical compositions as reported from 1972 to 2020. Using chemometric analysis, we attempt to build a structure-activity relationship between phytotoxicity and EO chemical composition. Data analysis reveals that oxygenated terpenes, and mono- and sesquiterpenes, in particular, play principal roles in the phytotoxicity of EOs. Pinene, 1,8 cineole, linalool, and carvacrol are the most effective monoterpenes, with significant phytotoxicity evident in the EOs of many plants. Caryophyllene and its derivatives, including germacrene, spathulenol, and hexahydrofarnesyl acetone, are the most effective sesquiterpenes. EOs rich in iridoids (non-terpene compounds) also exhibit allelopathic
activity. Further studies are recommended to evaluate the phytotoxic activity of these compounds in pure forms, determine their activity in the field, evaluate their safety, and assess their modes
of action.

Abd-ElGawad, A. M., et al. (2021). “Phytotoxic Effects of Plant Essential Oils: A Systematic Review and Structure-Activity Relationship Based on Chemometric Analyses.” Plants 10(1): 36.

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