Carotenoid inhibitors reduce strigolactone production and Striga hermonthica infection in rice

M. Jamil, T. Charnikhova, F.W.A. Verstappen, H.J. Bouwmeester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The strigolactones are internal and rhizosphere signalling molecules in plants that are biosynthesised through carotenoid cleavage. They are secreted by host roots into the rhizosphere where they signal host-presence to the symbiotic arbuscular mycrorrhizal (AM) fungi and the parasitic plants of the Orobanche, Phelipanche and Striga genera. The seeds of these parasitic plants germinate after perceiving these signalling molecules. After attachment to the host root, the parasite negatively affects the host plant by withdrawing water, nutrients and assimilates through a direct connection with the host xylem. In many areas of the world these parasites are a threat to agriculture but so far very limited success has been achieved to minimize losses due to these parasitic weeds. Considering the carotenoid origin of the strigolactones, in the present study we investigated the possibilities to reduce strigolactone production in the roots of plants by blocking carotenoid biosynthesis using carotenoid inhibitors. Hereto the carotenoid inhibitors fluridone, norflurazon, clomazone and amitrole were applied to rice either through irrigation or through foliar spray. Irrigation application of all carotenoid inhibitors and spray application of amitrole significantly decreased strigolactone production, Striga hermonthica germination and Striga infection, also in concentrations too low to affect growth and development of the host plant. Hence, we demonstrate that the application of carotenoid inhibitors to plants can affect S. hermonthica germination and attachment indirectly by reducing the strigolactone concentration in the rhizosphere. This finding is useful for further studies on the relevance of the strigolactones in rhizosphere signalling. Since these inhibitors are available and accessible, they may represent an efficient technology for farmers, including poor subsistence farmers in the African continent, to control these harmful parasitic weeds
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-131
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • root parasitic plants
  • germination stimulants
  • weed management
  • irrigated rice
  • west-africa
  • host-plant
  • resistance
  • fluridone
  • orobanche

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Carotenoid inhibitors reduce strigolactone production and Striga hermonthica infection in rice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this