Since cucumber plants are mostly discarded as large waste after crop harvesting, allelopathy of cucumber plants was investigated for possible weed management options and utilization of the waste. Two potent growth inhibitory substances were isolated from an aqueous methanol extract of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L. cv. Phung Tuong) plants. These substances were determined as 9-hydroxy-4,7-megastigmadien-9-one (HMO) and (6S,7E,9S)-6,9,10-trihydroxy-4,7-megastigmadien-3-one (THMO) by the analysis of MS, 1H NMR spectra and optical rotation. HMO inhibited the growth of cress (Lepidium sativum L.) and Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) Beauv seedlings at concentrations greater than 0.3 and 1μM, respectively. THMO inhibited the growth of cress and E. crus-galli seedlings at concentrations greater than 1 and 3μM, respectively. The concentrations required for 50% growth inhibition on roots and shoots of cress and E. crus-galli were 2.4-29.3μM for HMO and 8.1-52.2μM for THMO. The endogenous levels of HMO and THMO in cucumber plants were 31.8 and 43.5μgg-1 dry weight, respectively. These results suggest that HMO and THMO may be the causal factors for the growth inhibitory effect of cucumber plants. Therefore, cucumber plants may be potentially useful for weed management options in an agricultural setting, such as a cover crop and soil admixture, which should be investigated further in the field.
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