The University of Arizona

Fingerprint composition of seedling root exudates of selected grasses.

J.F. Dormaar, B.C. Tovell, W.D. Willms


The competitiveness of plants within a community is dictated to some extent by their association with microorganisms in the soil. That association is affected by root exudates and possibly by their quality. The competitiveness of species under various grazing regimes has been defined by their response to grazing as decreaser, increaser, or invader. To test the hypothesis that there are recognisable differences in the chemical fingerprints of the root exudates of decreasers, increasers and invaders, seeds of 8 grasses, representing these 3 designations, were germinated and grown for 2 weeks in a root exudate trapping system in the laboratory. Tentative identification of the suite of compounds recovered from the root exudates by a solvent extraction technique was done with the help of gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and authentic samples. Eleven identified compounds, present in all exudates as major peaks, but absent in the blanks, were selected for semi-quantitatively comparing the 3 grazing response groups. For all 11 compounds, there was always at least 1 of the grazing response groups that had the highest percentages. That is to say, they were qualitatively, based on the 11 compounds selected, but not quantitatively similar.



Phleum pratense;koeleria macrantha;carboxylic acids;decreaser species;increaser species;Hesperostipa comata;Psathyrostachys juncea;root exudates;Festuca campestris;invasion;Agropyron cristatum;seedlings;Pascopyrum smithii;Bouteloua gracilis;plant competition;invasive species;grazing;grasses

Full Text: