Dipteryx odorata (Aubl.) Willd. is a tall arboreal species native to Central and Northern South America. This paper describes the chemical characterization and phytotoxic potential of polar and non-polar extracts from D. odorata seeds. Structural determinations were accomplished by chemical derivatization and analyzed by GC/MS. The chemical composition of the non-polar fraction (hexane and dichloromethane) presented fatty acids as major constituent. Medium polar and polar fractions (ethyl acetate and ethanol: water) contained carboxylic acid and high 6,7-Dyhidroxycoumarin-β-D-glucopyranoside content, not previously reported for seeds of D. odorata. Extracts showed a significant level of phytotoxic activity, correlated to the content of coumarin derivatives, predominantly in the polar fraction.
Cyanogenesis in Pteridium caudatum and P. arachnoideum has been examined. Samples of the Andes of South America furnished from 0 to 4.63 mg of prunasin g-1 of frond dry weight (dw) in P. caudatum and from 0 to 103 mg of g-1 dw in P. arachnoideum. In both fern species the continuous distribution of prunasin suggested cyanogenic polymorphism. The frequency of cyanogenic morphs was 84.7% for P. caudatum and 98.6% for P. arachnoideum. Cyanogenic activity was highest in the young crozier and waned rapidly with frond growth. The crozier head was found to yield HCN much more than the stipe.
Detrimental interactions among plants are expressed by competition for nutrients, chemical interferences and/or parasitism. Root exudates have an enormous potential at the modulation of these three mechanisms. These exudates play a key role as "phytoalexins release routes", being the allelochemicals, which regulate the chemical interactions, an example. This review presents the most recent findings on the currently used methodologies for the study of the exudation phenomenon. The methodologies for the sampling and analysis of such chemicals, as well as all other factors considered to increase the production of root exudates, are also examined.