The first thing we have to expose is the etymological origin of the term that concerns us. In this case, we can determine that it is the result of the sum of two words that come from the Greek, such as:
– “Allelon”, which can be translated as “each other”.
– “Pathos”, which is synonymous with “suffer”.
The term allelopathy is not part of the dictionary prepared by the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE). Its use, however, is frequent in the field of biology, where it is the phenomenon that leads an organism to generate certain biochemical compounds that influence the life and development of other organisms.
Although we may think that allelopathy is something recent in our society, it is not. Specifically, experts in science and, more specifically in biology, come to indicate that it was used in ancient times. In this way, for example, they explain that Pliny came to expose how the shade of the walnut tree changed the barley or chickpea crops.
Allelopathy can be negative (when the consequences it generates are harmful to the receptor) or positive (if its effects bring advantages or benefits) according to what is caused by these biochemical compounds that are called chemical alleles.
The links between plants are usually regulated through allelopathy. One plant can make a chemical inhibitor while another can make a stimulant. There are plants, on the other hand, that produce chemical alleles that act as insect repellents. In a tuber crop, in this way, this type of plants can be included to keep pests away. Thus, the plant with the chemical allele protects the tubers.
Knowing how allelopathy works can therefore help preserve crops. Due to the allelopathic characteristics of each species, plants can be used to stimulate the growth of others or to perform as pesticides or herbicides. The key is to analyze the chemical properties of plants to promote positive interactions and to minimize or eliminate possible negative links.
In addition to all the above, we cannot overlook another series of relevant aspects regarding allelopathy. Specifically, the following must be emphasized:
-To get to know it in depth, it is necessary to take into account the modes of liberation that play a fundamental role in it. Exactly we are referring to leaching, volatilization, decomposition of plant residues or root exudates.
-When it is possible to fully analyze an allelopathic process it is essential to have two phases. Yes, because this procedure is made up of two distinct stages: the biological – ecological phase and the chemical – analytical phase.
-Among the many advantages attributed to the use of allelopathy is the fact that it can help to understand how even allelopathic agents can lead to herbicide function.
It should be noted that the organic management of crops through allelopathy is considered an ecological alternative to agrochemicals.