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Lavender oil is a natural herbicide

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.

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."

by S. C.
18 may 2009, Technical Area > Science News

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