Effect of Short and Long Term Irrigation with Treated Wastewater on Chemical Composition and Herbicidal Activity of Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehn. Essential Oils
Water shortage throughout the world, especially in arid regions in the later decades has led to search for alternatives to save potable fresh water. Treated wastewater (TWW) appears to be an opportunity for irrigation. However, it could represent a stress factor for plants, and influence their metabolism, changing their secondary metabolites and, consequently, their biological properties. Eucalyptus camaldulensis essential oil (EO) had been reported to possess phytotoxic activity. The main objective of this work was to compare the chemical composition and herbicidal activity of E. camaldulensis EO obtained from leaves of young plants and old trees irrigated with well water (WW) and TWW. Germination tests were performed in vitro against Amaranthus hybridus, Chenopodium album, Echinochloa crus-galli and Lolium perenne. The EOs composition was analyzed by gas chromatography and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. A high percentage of oxygenated monoterpenes, with 1,8-cineole as main compound, was found in the EOs from leaves of young plants irrigated with both types of water. The EO from leaves of old trees irrigated with WW contained a main fraction of monoterpene hydrocarbons (45.17%) with p-cymene as principal compound. The highest herbicidal potential was shown by the EO from young plants irrigated with TWW. It completely inhibited A. hybridus and L. perenne germination, and nearly blocked the others at all concentrations assayed. It also showed strong phytotoxic activity on seedling length. The results suggest the possible use of TWW to irrigate Eucalyptus crops as it enhances the EOs herbicidal potential that could be used as natural herbicides.
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