Skip Navigation Links
Journal of Environmental Accounting and Management
António Mendes Lopes (editor), Jiazhong Zhang(editor)
António Mendes Lopes (editor)

University of Porto, Portugal


Jiazhong Zhang (editor)

School of Energy and Power Engineering, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province 710049, China

Fax: +86 29 82668723 Email:

Phytotoxic Extracts as Possible Additive in Subsurface Irrigation Drip for Organic Agriculture

Journal of Environmental Accounting and Management 6(4) (2018) 335--343 | DOI:10.5890/JEAM.2018.12.006

V. Romanucci$^{1}$, A. Ladhari$^{1}$, G. De Tommaso$^{1}$, A. De Marco$^{2}$, C. Di Marino$^{1}$, G. Di Fabio$^{1}$, A. Zarrelli$^{1}$

$^{1}$ Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Naples, Via Cintia 4, 80126, Italy

$^{2}$ Department of Biology, University of Naples, Via Cintia 4, 80126, Italy

Download Full Text PDF



The subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) system is a micro-irrigation technique applied below the soil surface through drip lines buried at a depth depending on the characteristics of the soil and on the plants to be irrigated. SDI distributes precise amounts of water directly to the root area, with the possibility of leaving the soil surface dry and less subject to weeds. This system reduces the use of water, herbicides, and environmental pollution. Furthermore, SDI allows the use of urban wastewater, advantageous from the environmental point of view since it reduces the consumption of ground water and energy costs required for its pumping. In addition, it reduces the use of chemical fertilizers through the enhancement of organic fertilizer content in the waste. However, there are issues related to the use of SDI systems, such as the elimination or reduction of roots that wrap the dripper thus blocking the water flow. It has been hypothesized that it would be useful to add a pure or blended phytotoxic mixture to plastic during the production of drippers, whose herbicidal action dissolves gradually with the passage of water. Five species of plants have been selected in this study: Vetch villosa, Brassica juncea, Secale cereale, Juncus effusus, and Vallisneria natans. The phytotoxicity has been tested in vivo on Lactuca sativa, Lycopersicon esculentum, and Allium cepa. The plants showed the same behavior but the aerial biomass of V. natans resulted the most active ones. The phytotoxicity of the hydroalcoholic extract of each plant was evaluated on the same test organisms, with peak inhibitions up to 60, 70, and 80% at concentrations ranging from 10-4 to 10-7M. In general, the most active hydroalcoholic infusion was that of V. villosa. Finally, after some chromatographic steps and LC/GC-MS analyses, the most abundant metabolites of the hydroalcoholic extracts were identified.


  1. [1]  Camp, C.R. (1988), Subsurface drip irrigation: A review, Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, 41, 1353-1367.
  2. [2]  Cutillo, F., D'Abrosca, B., DellaGreca, M., and Zarrelli, A. (2004), Chenoalbicin, a novel cinnamic acid amide alkaloid from Chenopodium album, Chem. Biodiversity, 1, 1579-1583.
  3. [3]  D'Abrosca, B., DellaGreca, M., Fiorentino, A., Monaco, P., Oriano, P., and Zarrelli, A. (2005), Structural characterization of phytotoxic terpenoids from Cestrum parqui, Phytochemistry, 6, 2681-2688.
  4. [4]  DellaGreca, M., Fiorentino, A., Monaco, P., Previtera, L., and Zarrelli, A. (2002), A new dimeric 9,10- dihydrophenanthrenoid from the rhizome of Juncus acutus, Tetrahedron Lett., 43, 2573-2575.
  5. [5]  DellaGreca, M., Fiorentino, A., Isidori, M., Previtera, L., and Zarrelli, A. (2003), Benzocoumarins from the rhizomes of Juncus acutus, Tetrahedron, 59, 4821-4825.
  6. [6]  DellaGreca, M., Fiorentino, A., Monaco, P., Previtera, L., F., and Zarrelli, A. (2003), New dimeric phenanthrenoids from the rhizomes of Juncus acutus, Structure determination and antialgal activity, Tetrahedron, 59, 2317-2324.
  7. [7]  DellaGreca, M., Isidori, M., Lavorgna,M., Monaco, P., Previtera, L., and Zarrelli, A. (2004), Bioactivity of phenanthrenes from Juncus acutus on Selenastrum capricornutum, Journal of Chemical Ecology, 30, 867-879.
  8. [8]  DellaGreca, M., Fiorentino, A., Izzo, A., Napoli, F., Purcaro, R., and Zarrelli, A. (2007), Phytotoxicity of secondary metabolites from Aptenia cordifolia, Chem. Biodiversity, 4, 118-128.
  9. [9]  DellaGreca, M., Previtera, L., Purcaro, R., and Zarrelli, A. (2007), Cinnamic ester derivatives from Oxalis pes-caprae (Bermuda buttercup), Journal of Natural Products, 70, 1664-1667.
  10. [10]  DellaGreca, M., Mancino, A., Previtera, L., Zarrelli, A., and Zuppolini, S. (2011), Lignans from Phillyrea angustifolia. L., Phytochemistry Letters, 4, 118-121.
  11. [11]  Ercoli, L., Masoni, A., Pampana, S., and Arduini, I. (2007), Allelopathic effects of rye, brown mustard and hairy vetch on redroot pigweed, common lambsquarter and knotweed, Allelopathy Journal, 19, 249-256.
  12. [12]  Ervin, G.N. and Wetzel, R.G. (2000), Allelochemical autotoxicity in the emergent wetland macrophyte Juncus effusus (Juncaceae), American Journal of Botany, 87, 853-860.
  13. [13]  Fiorentino, A., DellaGreca, M., D'Abrosca, B., Oriano, P., Golino, A., Izzo, A., Zarrelli, A., and Monaco, P. (2007), Lignans, neolignans and sesquilignans from Cestrum parqui l'Her, Biochemical Systematics and Ecology, 35, 392-396.
  14. [14]  G20 AgricultureMinisters' Action Plan 2017- Towards food and water security: Fostering sustainability, advancing innovation, G20 German Presidency, Berlin, January 22, 2017. GlobalFoodSituation/G20 Action Plan2017 EN.pdf?_blob=publicationFile.
  15. [15]  Ladhari, A., Omezzine, F., DellaGreca, M., Zarrelli, A., Zuppolini, S., and Haouala, R. (2013), Phytotoxic activity of Cleome arabica L. and its principal discovered active compounds, South African Journal of Botany, 88, 341-351.
  16. [16]  Macias, F.A., Castellano, D., and Molinillo, J.M.G. (2000), Search for a standard phytotoxic bioassay for allelochemicals, selection of standard target species, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 48, 2512-2521.
  17. [17]  Nieman, T.A., Holler, F.J., and Enke C.G. (1976), Reaction rate method for determining trace concentrations of cyanamide, Analytical Chemistry, 48, 899-902.
  18. [18]  Selvaratnam, T., Henkanatte-Gedera, S.M., Muppaneni, T., Nirmalakhandan, N., Deng, S., and Lammers, P.J. (2016), Maximizing recovery of energy and nutrients from urban wastewaters, Energy, 104, 16-23.
  19. [19]  Soltys, D., Rudzińska-Langwald,A., Kurek,W., Gniazdowska, A., Sliwinska, E. and Bogatek, R. (2011), Cyanamidemode of action during inhibition of onion (Allium cepa L.) root growth involves disturbances in cell division and cytoskeleton formation, Planta, 234, 609-621.
  20. [20]  Wu, Z., Deng, P., Wu, X., Luo, S., and Gao, Y. (2000), Allelopathic effects of the submerged macrophyte Potamogeton malaianus on Scenedesmus obliquus, Hydrobiology, 592, 465-474.
  21. [21]  Yoshifumi, N., Kazuya, T., Kaushal, T., Khwankaew, T., Toru, T., Toshimitsu, H., Norikuni, O., Kuni, S., Yoshihiko, T., and Takuji, O. (2009), Rapid quantification of cyanamide by ultra-high-pressure liquid chromatography in fertilizer, soil or plant samples, Journal of Chromatography A, 1216, 5614-5618.
  22. [22]  Zarrelli, A., Sgambato, A., Petito, V., De Napoli, L., Previtera, L., and Di Fabio, G. (2011), New C-23 modified of silybin and 2,3-dehydrosilybin: Synthesis and preliminary evaluation of antioxidant properties, Bioorganic& Medicinal Chemistry Letters 21, 4389-4392.