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AAL-toxin, A potent natural herbicide which disrupts sphingolipid metabolism of plants

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AAL-toxin, a product of Alternaria alternata (Fr.) Keissl., is effective as a herbicide at low concentrations against a range of broadleaf plants (e.g. jimsonweed, prickly sida and black nightshade). However, monocotyledonous crops such as maize and wheat, as well as some varieties of tomato, are tolerant to it. The IC50 values for cellular electrolyte leakage and chlorophyll loss in duckweed (Lemna pausicostata L.) after 72 h treatment were 20-40 nM. Similar results were obtained with a susceptible tomato variety. AAL-toxin caused rapid cellular leakage of electrolytes, followed by cellular collapse; the first symptom at the ultrastructural level is disruption of the plasma membrane. The effects of the toxin are not light-dependent and appear to be associated with dysfunction of the plasma membrane. Fumonisins and sphingoid bases such as phytosphingosine cause similar effects, although these compounds are less potent (fumonisins, about 10-fold; sphingoid bases, about 100-fold). Recent studies suggest that in duckweed and in susceptible tomato varieties, AAL-toxin- and fumonisin B1-induced disruption of sphingolipid metabolism is an early event in the cascade of events leading to phytotoxic injury and cell death.
Abbas, H.K. , Duke, S.O. , Paul, R.N. , Riley, R.T. , Tanaka, T.
Paper presented in part at the 8th International Congress of Pesticide Chemistry (IUPAC), July 4-9, 1994, Washington, D.C.
Pesticide science Mar 1995. v. 43 (3)
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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