Since higher plants regularly release organic compounds into the environment, their decay products are often added to the soil matrix and a few have been reported as agents of plant-plant interactions. These compounds, active against higher plants, typically suppress seed germination, cause injury to root growth and other meristems, and inhibit seedling growth. Mucuna pruriens is an example of a successful cover crop with several highly active secondary chemical agents that are produced by its seeds, leaves and roots. The main phytotoxic compound encountered is the non-protein amino acid L-DOPA, which is used in treating the symptoms of Parkinson disease. In plants, L-DOPA is a precursor of many alkaloids, catecholamines, and melanin and is released from Mucuna into soils, inhibiting the growth of nearby plant species. This mini-review summarizes knowledge regarding L-DOPA in plants, providing a brief overview about its metabolic actions.
We compared the amount of lignin as determined by the three most traditional methods for lignin measurement in three tissues (sugarcane bagasse, soybean roots and soybean seed coat) contrasting for lignin amount and composition. Although all methods presented high reproducibility, major inconsistencies among them were found. The amount of lignin determined by thioglycolic acid method was severely lower than that provided by the other methods (up to 95%) in all tissues analyzed. Klason method was quite similar to acetyl bromide in tissues containing higher amounts of lignin, but presented lower recovery of lignin in the less lignified tissue. To investigate the causes of the inconsistencies observed, we determined the monomer composition of all plant materials, but found no correlation. We found that the low recovery of lignin presented by the thioglycolic acid method were due losses of lignin in the residues disposed throughout the procedures. The production of furfurals by acetyl bromide method does not explain the differences observed. The acetyl bromide method is the simplest and fastest among the methods evaluated presenting similar or best recovery of lignin in all the tissues assessed.
In the present study, we investigated the effects of dopamine, an allelochemical exuded from the velvetbean (Mucuna pruriens L DC. var utilis), on the growth and cell viability of soybean (Glycine max L. Merrill) roots. We analyzed the effects of dopamine on superoxide dismutase, phenylalanine ammonia-lyase and cell wall-bound peroxidase activities as well as its effects on lignin contents in the roots. Three-day-old seedlings were cultivated in half-strength Hoagland nutrient solution (pH 6.0), without or with 0.25 to 1.0 mM dopamine, in a growth chamber (25°C, 12L:12D photoperiod, irradiance of 280 ?mol m(-2) s(-1)) for 24 h. In general, the length, fresh weight and dry weight of roots, cell viability, PAL and POD activities decreased, while SOD activities increased after dopamine treatment. The content of lignin was not altered. The data demonstrate the susceptibility of soybean to dopamine and reinforce the role of this catecholamine as a strong allelochemical. The results also suggest that dopamine-induced inhibition in soybean roots is not related to the production of lignin, but may be related to damage caused by reactive oxygen species.
L-3,4-Dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) is a known allelochemical exuded from the roots of velvet bean (Mucuna pruriens L. Fabaceae). In the current work, we analyzed the effects of L-DOPA on the growth, the activities of phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL), tyrosine ammonia-lyase (TAL), and peroxidase (POD), and the contents of phenylalanine, tyrosine, and lignin in maize (Zea mays) roots. Three-day-old seedlings were cultivated in nutrient solution with or without 0.1 to 2.0?mM L-DOPA in a growth chamber (25°C, light/dark photoperiod of 12/12, and photon flux density of 280? ? mol?m(-2)?s(-1)) for 24?h. The results revealed that the growth (length and weight) of the roots, the PAL, TAL, and soluble and cell wall-bound POD activities decreased, while phenylalanine, tyrosine, and lignin contents increased after L-DOPA exposure. Together, these findings showed the susceptibility of maize to L-DOPA. In brief, these results suggest that the inhibition of PAL and TAL can accumulate phenylalanine and tyrosine, which contribute to enhanced lignin deposition in the cell wall followed by a reduction of maize root growth.
The non-protein amino acid, L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA), is the main allelochemical released from the roots of velvetbean and affects seed germination and root growth of several plant species. In the work presented here, we evaluated, in soybean roots, the effects of L-DOPA on the following: polyphenol oxidase (PPO), superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), and catalase (CAT) activities; superoxide anion (O·-2), hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)), and melanin contents; and lipid peroxidation. To this end, 3-day-old seedlings were cultivated in half-strength Hoaglands solution (pH 6.0), with or without 0.1 to 1.0 mM L-DOPA in a growth chamber (at 25°C, with a light/dark photoperiod of 12/12 hr and a photon flux density of 280 ?mol m(-2) s(-1)) for 24 hr. The results showed that L-DOPA increased the PPO activity and, further, the melanin content. The activities of SOD and POD increased, but CAT activity decreased after the chemical exposure. The contents of reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as O·-2 and H(2)O(2), and the levels of lipid peroxidation significantly decreased under all concentrations of L-DOPA tested. These results suggest that L-DOPA was absorbed by the soybean roots and metabolized to melanin. It was concluded that the reduction in the O·-2 and H(2)O(2) contents and lipid peroxidation in soybean roots was due to the enhanced SOD and POD activities and thus a possible antioxidant role of L-DOPA.
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