Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Agricultural Aromatherapy: Lavender Oil As Natural Herbicide

Date:
May 21, 2009
Source:
Inderscience
Summary:
Could essential oils extracted from lavender be used as a natural herbicide to prevent weed growth among crops? Research carried out in Italy suggests the answer may be yes.

Lavender flowers blooming in a field.
Credit: iStockphoto/Carly Hennigan

Could essential oils extracted from lavender be used as a natural herbicide to prevent weed growth among crops? Research carried out in Italy and reported in the current issue of the International Journal of Environment and Health suggests the answer may be yes.

Related Articles


Elena Sturchio of the National Institute of Health and Safety at Work in Rome and colleagues there and at the Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, and the Department Crop Production, at Tuscia University, in Viterbo, have investigated the inhibitory effects on weed growth of aromatic oils, or mixtures of phytochemicals, from plants such as lavender, Lavandula officinalis.

Essential oils, are as the name suggests, often the plant's "essence" in terms of odour. Essential oils are complex chemical mixtures of natural products made by the plant for its own purposes, including terpenes, alcohols, aldehydes and phenols. Indeed, several plant essential oils are present as natural inbuilt herbicides and pesticides.

Synthetic pesticides and herbicides have been in common use for decades and have protected crops from parasites, insects, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and eliminated weeds. However, by virtue of their design, these substances are toxic and in some cases thought to be carcinogenic. Their incorrect use or inadvertent exposure have been the focus of numerous studies on animal and human health, the results of which have led to serious initiatives to find alternative approaches to pest and weed control.

Other researchers have investigated the potential of essential oils from cinnamon plants, and peppermint to prevent seed germination of some weed species found in the Mediterranean region.

Sturchio and colleagues have investigated the effects of lavender oil on root growth in a plant, Vicia faba in trials. This weed has large chromosomes and so was also amenable to studies in the laboratory that investigated the genetic toxicity of the essential oil on the weed. Their analysis showed the oil to be effective at killing the weed even at low concentration. Moreover, the oil affects growth of soil microbes and fungi involved in crop growth.

The team concludes that, "Essential oils could be useful as potential bioherbicides as an alternative strategy to the chemical remedy." They add that, "The use of phytochemicals permits the development for more sustainable agriculture at low environmental impact. Further studies are now needed to evaluate use of such oils "in the field".

The team points out that the oils would most likely be used either before planting or prior to transplantation of seedlings, so the essential oil would not have toxicity effects on the crop itself. Sturchio adds that, "essential oils are not accumulated in the environment, because of their low persistence due to the easy degradation by microbial and enzyme activity. This aspect could represent an advantage compared to the bioaccumulation of chemicals on soil."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Inderscience. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Miriam Zanellato, Eva Masciarelli, Laura Casorri, Priscilla Boccia, Elena Sturchio, Mario Pezzella, Andrea Cavalieri, Fabio Caporali. The essential oils in agriculture as an alternative strategy to herbicides: a case study. International Journal of Environment and Health, 2009; 3 (2): 198 DOI: 10.1504/IJENVH.2009.024878

Cite This Page:

Inderscience. "Agricultural Aromatherapy: Lavender Oil As Natural Herbicide." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090514083921.htm>.
Inderscience. (2009, May 21). Agricultural Aromatherapy: Lavender Oil As Natural Herbicide. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090514083921.htm
Inderscience. "Agricultural Aromatherapy: Lavender Oil As Natural Herbicide." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090514083921.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins