Chemical composition and in vitro herbicidal activity of five essential oils on Johnson grass (Sorghum halepense [L.] Pers.)

Ana Matković, Tatjana Marković, Sava Vrbničanin, Marija Sarić-Krsmanović, Dragana Božić



The evaluation of the inhibition effect achieved by essential oils of dill (Anethum graveolens L.), oregano (Origanum vulgare L.), juniper (Juniperus communis L.), sage (Salvia officinalis L.) and winter savory (Satureja montana L.)  on seed germination and shoot growth of Johnson grass (Sorghum halepense L.) was tested in laboratory. The chemical composition of essential oils was analyzed by gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The major constituents were carvon (40.5%) and limonene (32.2%) for A. graveolens essential oil, carvacrol (73.7%) for O. vulgare essential oil, α-pinene (43.5%) for J. communis essential oil, b-thujone (32.7%) and camphor (17.2%) for S. officinalis essential oil, thymol (44.6%) and p-cimene (13.4%) for S. montana essential oil. The in vitro study on herbicidal activity was carried out on seed germination and shoots length of S. halepense; A. graveolens, O. vulgare, S. montana essential oils significantly inhibited the germination and shoot length and their herbicidal activity could be attributed mainly to their high content of carvone, carvacrol and thymol. A. graveolens, O. vulgare and S. montana essential oils reduced seed germination by 61.5%, 52.7% and 47.3%, respectively, while J. communis and S. officinalis essential oils stimulated germination (7.7% and 2.2%, respectively). The shoot growth reduction for almost all essential oils, except J. communis essential oil, was more than 30%. The solution of A. graveolens, O. vulgare and S. montana essential oils exhibited more powerful bio-herbicidal effect compared to J. communis and S. officinalis essential oils on the germination and shoot growth of S. halepense.


essential oils, seed germination, shoot length, bioherbicides, Johnson grass

Full Text:



Adams, R. (2009). Identification of essential oil compounds by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, 4th edn. Allured Publishing Corporation, USA Carol Stream, IL

AMDIS (ver. 2.1.) Automated Mass Spectral Deconvolution and Identification System software, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Standard Reference Data Program, Gaithersburg, MD

Anaya, A. (1999). Allelopathy as a Tool in the Management of Biotic Resources in Agroecosystems. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences, 18, 697-739.

Angelini, L., Carpanese, G., Cioni, P., Morelli, I., Macchia, M., Flamini, G. (2003). Essential Oils from Mediterranean Lamiaceae as Weed Germination Inhibitors. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 51, 6158−6164.

Atak, M., Mavi, K., Uremis, I. (2016). Bio-Herbicidal Effects of Oregano and Rosemary Essential Oils on Germination and Seedling Growth of Bread Wheat Cultivars and Weeds. Romanian Biotechnological Letters, 21(1), 11149-11159.

Azirak, S. and Karaman, S. (2008). Allelopathic effect of some essential oils and components on germination of weed species. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica Section B-Soil and Plant Science, 58(1), 88-92.

Balah, M. (2013). Formulation of prospective plant oils derived micro-emulsions for herbicidal activity. The Journal of Plant Protection and Pathology, 4(11), 911 – 926.

Barton, A., Dell, B., Knight, A. (2010). Herbicidal activity of cineole derivatives. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 58(18), 10147-10155.

Baum, S., Karanastasis, L., Rost, T. (1998). Morphogenetic Effect of the Herbicide Cinch on Arabidopsis thaliana Root Development. Journal of Plant Growth Regulation, 17, 107–114.

Božić, D., Jovanović, Lj., Raičević, V., Pavlović, D., Sarić-Krsmanović, M., Vrbničanin, S. (2014). The effect of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria on Datura stramonium L., Abutilon theophrasti Med., Onopordon acanthium L. and Verbascum thapsus L. seed germination. Pesticides and Phytomedicine, 29, 205-212.

Butkiene, R., Budiene, J., Judzentiene, A. (2015). Variation of secondary metabolites (essential oils) in various plant organs of Juniperus communis L. wild growing in Lithuania. Baltic Forestry, 21(1), 59-64.

Campiglia, E., Mancinelli, R., Cavalieri, A., Caporali, F. (2007). Use of essential oils of cinnamon, lavander and peppermint for weed control. Italian Journal of Agronomy, 2, 171-175.

Chauhan, B., Gill, G., Preston, C. (2006). Factors affecting seed germination of annual sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus) in Southern Australia. Weed Science, 54, 854-860.

Damjanović-Vratnica, B., Perović, A., Šuković, D., Perović, S. (2011). Effect of vegetation cycle on chemical content and antibacterial activity of Satureja montana L. Archives of Biological Sciences, 63, 1173-117.

Đorđević, S., Marković, T., Vrbničanin, S., Božić, D. (2013). Uticaj etarskih ulja na klijanje korovske vrste Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. Lekovite sirovine, 33, 95-106.

Dudai, N., Poljakoff-Mayber, A., Mayer, A., Putievsky, E., Lerner, H. (1999). Essential oils as allelochemicals and their potential use as bioherbicides. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 25(5), 1079-1089.

Flamini, G. (2012). Natural Herbicides as a Safer and More Environmentally Friendly Approach to Weed Control: A Review of the Literature Since 2000, Chap.13, Studies in Natural Products Chemistry, 38, 353-396.

Follak, S. and Essl, F. (2012). Spread dynamics and agricultural impact of Sorghum halepense, an emerging invasive species in Central Europe. Weed Research, 53(1), 53-60.

Fouad, R., Bousta, D., Lalami, A., Chahdi, F., Amri, I., Jamoussi, B., Greche, H. (2015). Chemical Composition and Herbicidal Effects of Essential Oils of Cymbopogon citratus (DC) Stapf, Eucalyptus cladocalyx, Origanum vulgare L. and Artemisia absinthium L. cultivated in Morocco. Taylor&Francis Group, 18(1), 112-123.

Franczuk, J., Kosterna, E., Zaniewicz-Bajkowska, A. (2010). Weed-control effects on different types of cover-crop mulches. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica Section B - Soil and Plant Science, 60, 472-479.

Hanana, M., Mansour, M., Algabr, M., Amri, I., Gargouri, S., Romane, A., Jamoussi, B., Hamrouni, L. (2017). Potential Use of Essential oils from Four Tunisian Species of Lamiaceae: Biological Alternative for Fungal and Weed Control. Records of Natural Products, 11(3), 258-269.

Ishii-Iwamoto, E., Coelho, E., Reis, B., Moscheta, I., Bonato, C. (2012). Effects of monoterpenes on physiological processes during seed germination and seedling growth. Current Bioactive Compounds, 8(1), 50-64.

Isman, M. (2000). Plant essential oils for pest and disease management. Crop Protection, 19, 603-608.

ISO 11024–1 (1998). Essential oils - General guidance on chromatographic profiles - Part 1: Preparation of chromatographic profiles for presentation in standards.

ISO 11024–2 (1998). Essential oils - General guidance on chromatographic profiles - Part 2: Utilization of chromatographic profiles of samples of essential oils.

ISO 7609 (1985). Essential oils - Analysis by gas chromatography on capillary columns - General method.

ISO8897 (1991). Oil of Juniper berry (Juniperus communis Linnaeus).

Jirovetz, L., Buchbauer, G., Stoyanova, A., Geogriev, E., Damianova S. (2003). Composition, quality control and antimicrobial activity of the essential oil of long-time stored dill (Anethum graveolens L.) seeds from Bulgaria. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 51, 3854–3857.

Jodaugienė, D., Pupalienė R., Urbonienė M., Pranckietis V., Pranckietienė I. (2006). The impact of different types of organic mulches on weed emergence. Agronomy Research, Special issue, 4, 197-201.

Knezevic, S., Stepanovic, S., Datta, A. (2014). Growth Stage Affects Response of Selected Weed Species to Flaming. Weed Technology, 28(1), 233-242.

Miladi, H., Ben Slama, R., Mili, D., Zouari, S., Bakhrouf, A., Ammar, E. (2013). Chemical composition and cytotoxic and antioxidant activities of Satureja montana L. essential oil and its antibacterial potential against Salmonella spp. strains. Journal of Chemistry, 2013.

Nandula, V., Eubank, T., Poston, D., Koger, C., Reddy, K. (2006). Factors affecting germination of horseweed (Conyza canadensis). Weed Science, 54, 898-902.

Nikolić, M., Jovanović, K., Marković, T., Marković, D., Gligorijević, N., Radulović, S., Sokovića, M. (2014). Study on chemical composition, antimicrobial and cytotoxic properties of five Lamiaceae essential oils. Industrial Crops and Products, 61, 225-232.

Nishida, N., Tamotsu, S., Nagata, N., Saito, C., Sakai, A. (2005). Allelopathic effects of volatile monoterpenoids produced by Salvia leucophylla: Inhibition of cell proliferation and DNA synthesis in the root apical meristem of Brassica campestris seedlings. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 31(5), 1187-1203.

Onen, H., Ozer, Z., Telci, I. (2002). Bioherbicidal effects of some plant essential oils on different weed species. ZEITSCHRIFT FUR PFLANZENKRANKHEITEN UND PFLANZENSCHUTZ-SONDERHEFT-, 18, 597-606.

Padulosi, S., editor. 1997. Oregano. Promoting the conservation and use of underutilized and neglected crops. 14. Proceedings of the IPGRI International Workshop on Oregano, 8-12 May 1996, CIHEAM, Valenzano (Bari), Italy. Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, Gatersleben/International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome, Italy.

Paudel, V. and Gupta, V. (2008). Effect of Some Essential Oils on Seed Germination and Seedling Length of Parthenium hysterophorous L. Ecoprint, 15, 69-73.

Perry, N., Anderson, R., Brennan, N., Douglas, M., Heaney, A., McGimpsey, J., Smallfield, B. (1999). Essential oils from Dalmatian sage (Salvia officinalis L.): variations among individuals, plant parts, seasons, and sites. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 47(5), 2048-2054.

Rajković, M., Malidža, G., Gvozdenović, Đ., Vasić, M., Gvozdanović-Varga, J. (2011). Osetljivost pasulja i paprike na primenu plamena u suzbijanju korova. Acta herbologica, 19 (2), 67-76.

Ramezani, S., Saharkhiz, M., Ramezani, F., Fotokian, M. (2008). Use of Essential Oils as Bioherbicides. Journal of Essential Oil Bearing Plants, 11(3), 319-327.

Rassaeifar, M., Hosseini, N., Haji Hasani Asl, N., Zandi, P., Moradi Aghdam, A. (2013). Allelopathic effect of Eucalyptus globulus ' essential oil on seed germination and seedling establishment of Amaranthus blitoides and Cynodon dactylon. Trakia Journal of Science, 1, 73-81.

Romagni, J., Allen, S., Dayan, F. (2000). Allelopathic effects of volatile cineoles on two weedy plant species. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 26(1), 303-313.

Sela, F., Karapandzova, M., Stefkov, G., Kulevanova, S. (2012). Chemical composition of berry essential oils from Juniperus communis L. (Cupressaceae) growing wild in Republic of Macedonia and assessment of the chemical composition in accordance to European Pharmacopoeia. Macedonian Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 57(1,2), 43-51.

Stef, R., Bostan, C., Butu, A., Ortan, A., Rodino, S., Butu, М. (2013). Comparative characteristics of Lupinus perennis L. under allelochemical sorgoleone stress. Romanian Biotechnological Letters, 18(3), 8327-8332.

Synowiec, A., Rys, M., Bocianowski, J., Wielgusz, K., Byczyñska, M., Heller, K., Kalemba, D. (2016). Phytotoxic Effect of Fiber Hemp Essential Oil on Germination of Some Weeds and Crops. Journal of Essential Oil Bearing Plants, 19(2), 262-276.

Uludag, A., Gozcu, D., Rusen, M., Guvercin, R., Demir, A. (2007). The Effect of Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense (L.) Pers.) Densities on Cotton Yield. Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 10, 523-525.

Uremis, I., Arslan, M., Sangun, M. (2009). Herbicidal activity of essential oils on the germination of some problem weeds. Asian Journal of Chemistry, 21(4), 3199-3210.

Vaughn, S. and Spencer, G. (1993). Volatile monoterpenes as potential parent structures for new herbicides. Weed Science, 41, 114–119.

Vokou, D., Douvli, P., Blionis, G., Halley, J. (2003). Effects of monoterpenoids, acting alone or in pairs, on seed germination and subsequent seedling growth. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 29, 2281-2301.

Vrbničanin, S., Božić, D., Sarić, M., Pavlović, D., Raičević, V. (2011). Effect of Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria on Ambrosia artemisiifolia L. Seed Germination. Pesticides and Phytomedicine, 26, 141-146.

Vrbničanin, S., Malidža, G., Stefanović, L., Elezović, I., Stanković-Kalezić, R., Jovanović-Radovanov, K., Marisavljević, D., Pavlović, D., Gavrić, M. (2009). Distribucija nekih ekonomski štetnih, invazivnih i karantinskih korovskih vrsta na području Srbije. III deo: Prostorna distribucija i zastupljenost osam korovskih vrsta na području Srbije. Biljni lekar, 37(1), 21-30.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Ana Matković, Tatjana Marković, Sava Vrbničanin, Marija Sarić-Krsmanović, Dragana Božić

ISSN 0455-6224 (Print)
ISSN 2560-3965 (Online)

Creative Commons License Except where otherwise noted, the content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.