Potential use of Parthenium (Parthenium hysterophorus L.) in Agriculture
Parthenium hysterophorus L., being a declared invasive weed is threatening the biodiversity and human health in several areas of India. Several researchers have documented the allelopathic effect of this weed. Therefore, Parthenium management would remain a great concern of the century. However, several studies proposed that Parthenium can be used as a Green manure, compost, biocontrol, soil ameliorate that may improve physical, chemical and biological properties of the soils and is a source of readily available plant micro- and macro-nutrients. Numerous studies revealed that the integrated use of Parthenium in soil modifies the physico-chemical, biological and nutritional quality of the soil. Parthenium has great potentiality in agriculture due to its efficacy in modification of soil health and crop performance. The high concentration of elements (N, P, K, Fe, Mn, Cu and Zn) in composted Parthenium increases the yield of many agricultural crops. An exhaustive review of numerous studies of last two decades took place in this study, which systematically covers the importance, scope and apprehension regarding utilization of Parthenium in agriculture. Parthenium hysterophorus can be used as a bioherbicide. Appreciable quantity of nutrients in Parthenium can be utilized to nourish the crops after composting and a lot of green Parthenium can be destroyed. This suggests that composting of uprooted Parthenium, or use as a green manure and Parthenium extract may reduce its spreading and inhibit the weed growth as well as menace of human health hazards worldwide.
Received: February 22, 2010;
Accepted: April 29, 2010;
Published: June 24, 2010
Congress grass (Parthenium hysterophorus L.) is spreading very fast
in grass lands and pastures and now has become an obnoxious weed to human all
around the world. It is common in vertisols than an alfisols. It is also observed
on road sides and wastelands. It can tolerate drought condition also to a certain
extend under favorable conditions. Parthenium hysterophorus L. complete
about three generation in a year. It is also reported that congress grass has
remarkable power of regeneration. The weed left as such in the same area acts
as a seed bank because of its higher seed production capacity and extended dormancy
period. Parthenium is an exotic weed comes under Asteraceae family. Accidentally
introduces in India, 1955 in Pune through the imported foodgrains (Dhawan
and Dhawan, 1996). Present, it has occupied almost all parts of India and
is attracting the attention of all (Dhawan and Dhawan, 1996).
Parthenium extracts nutrients even from nutrient deficient soil and in cropped
land can reduce up to 40% in yield (Swaminathan et al.,
1990). Beneficial effect of organic sources on soil properties and profitable
crop yield has been well documented. Huge amount of locally available Parthenium
can be utilized as a source of organic matter to prepare its compost. Composting
of Parthenium is recommended as the seeds deprive their viability due to the
higher temperature during composting. In spite of enough quantity of various
essential macro and micro plant nutrients, composting of Parthenium is not practiced
by farmers. The decomposition of Parthenium plant is done by composting and
the composted product becomes enriched with mineralizable plant nutrients. The
Parthenium hysterophorus compost contains two times more nitrogen, phosphorus
and potassium than Farm Yard Manure (FYM) (Angiras, 2008;
Channappagoudar et al., 2007). Adoption of composting
technology constitutes an essential component of organic farming. In India,
nearly 7,000 million tones (Mt) of organic wastes and dairy wastes are produced
yearly (Bhaiday, 1994). Composting is a one of the fastest
and effective ways to recycle these organic materials in which the organic wastes
can be compo-stabilized into compost. Compost is a rich source of macro-and
micronutrients, vitamins, enzymes, antibiotics, growth hormones and immobilized
micro flora (Bhawalker, 1991).
Allelochemicals or plant derived chemicals offers a great potential for the
pesticides because they are comparatively safer for the environment. In the
past two decades, much more work has been done on plant derived compounds as
environmentally safe alternatives to herbicides for the weed control (Duke
et al., 2002). These chemicals could be used for weed management
directly or their chemistry could be used to develop new herbicides. Some trees
have negative effect on the seed germination and thus these trees can contribute
to the pesticide industry if explored fully (Khan et
al., 2005). The inhibitory effects of P. hysterophorus L., on
germination of many crops have been reported (Narwal, 1994).
With the increasing concentration of Parthenium extracts the seed germination
and growth of Eragrostis decreased significantly (Tefera,
2002). The current article reviews various attributes of Parthenium for
its application in agriculture and deriving agronomic benefits. Hence, effort
was also made to search the reason for it to minimize the spread of Parthenium.
Importance of Parthenium
Instead of eradication of Parthenium constituents can be made use of for
our purpose. Information is available on the possibility of utilization of Parthenium
as a green leaf manure, as a biopesticide and also as a compost and its response
Use as a Green Manure Value
For the main crop of rice, the effect of Parthenium green leaf manure on
plant height was comparatively less as compared to other green manures like
leucaena and sunnhemp. Whereas, in the ratoon rice crop Parthenium green leaf
manure was superior in influencing the plant height (Sudhakar,
1984). Similarly in the main crop, Parthenium green leaf manure produced
less number of filled grains while it produced the highest number of filled
grains in the ratoon crop. Among the green leaf manures tried, the residual
effect for dry matter production was the highest with Parthenium as green leaf
Use as a Biopesticide
Parthenium hysterophorus extracts significantly inhibited the seed germination
of Eragrostis tef (Tefera, 2002) due to released of
phytotoxins from Parthenium leaves (Stephen and Sowerby,
1996). Seed germination of Lepidium pinnatifidum was more prone to higher
concentration of Parthenium extracts where there was no germination at Parthenium
concentration of 30 g L-1. Species-specific differences in the sensitivity
to aqueous extracts of fresh or dry leaf material of Parthenium hysterophorus
were reported by Kohli et al. (1996), Mersie
and Singh (1987). This might be due to the fact that broadleaf are more
susceptible to Parthenium extracts as compared to grasses. However this needs
to be confirmed. In a similar study it was noted that species varied considerably
in their sensitivity to aqueous extracts of Parthenium hysterophorus for both
root growth and germination (Belz et al., 2007;
Rashid et al., 2008). Marwat
et al. (2008) reported that pre-emergence application of Parthenium
extracts was more effective compared to post-emergence application. These results
suggested that higher concentration of Parthenium retard the growth of plants
which might be due to inhibition of cell division as allelopathic chemicals
have been found to inhibit gibberellin and indole acetic acid function (Tomaszewski
and Thimann, 1966). Parthenin is among other inhibitors relevant for residue
allelopathy as simulated under laboratory conditions by delaying germination
and reducing plant growth (Belz et al., 2007).
It is concluded that Parthenium hysterophorus can be used as a bioherbicide
but still needs extensive study to fully explore its potential against different
summer and winter weeds. The weed population in rice field was found to be influenced
by the incorporation of composted organic wastes. Among the treatments the composted
coir pith and Parthenium recorded lower weed population. The application of
organic waste composts reduced the weed count from 30.5 to 39.8% over NPK at
60 DAT. This could be attributed to the role of allelopathic compounds such
as phenol present in these two plant debris even after composting (Son,
1995). Similar reduction in weed population due to Parthenium as green leaf
manure for rice was reported earlier by Sudhakar (1984).
Among the different composts, coir pith and Parthenium compost recorded lower
weed population in maize. The beneficial effect of organic wastes in reducing
the incidence of pests such as stem borer and leaf roller was observed due to
the application of organic waste composts. Generally under incorporation of
organic wastes, the reduction in pest incidence was to the extent of 43.4 to
50% at 60 DAT as compared to NPK alone (Son, 1995). Incidence
of leaf roller in rice crop was the highest with urea application, whereas it
was the lowest with Parthenium as green leaf manure application (Sudhakar,
Use as a Compost
To assess the manurial value of Parthenium and its composting value, a composting
experiment was conducted by Kishor et al. (2010).
Flowered and unflowered plants of Parthenium hysterophorus were uprooted,
chopped together and composted under tree shade in a pit of size 4x3x2during
rainy season and finally plastered with mud layer. Temperature of compost was
recorded from different places of pit after a week of plastering using 1 m long
probe thermometer. In a months time the material was turned over and manure
was ready in 14 weeks. The manurial value of composted Parthenium is shown in
Soil Amendment Value
Any organic waste application aids in moisture conservation which is utilised
for better root penetration and crop growth. In general, incorporation of organic
wastes enhanced the moisture content of the soil to the tune of 45.5 to 77.4%
as compared to application of NPK alone to maize crop (Son,
1995). This enhancement could be attributed to the higher water holding
capacity of the soil due to the influence of organic waste application. The
moisture in soil due to application of Parthenium compost was 14.5 and 16.5%
at 0-15 and 15-30 cm depths as compared to 10.7 and 11.6% at 0-15 and 15-30
cm depths of soil due to application of NPK alone.
|| Chemical and biological characteristics of composted Parthenium
This may be due to building up of organic carbon status in soil. This behaviour
can be well utilised for moisture conservation practices. Allelopathic effect
Allelopathy is an expression of a general phenomenon of chemical interaction
and are known to inhibit seed germination by inhibiting hydrolysation of reserve
food, cell division and several other factors (Rice, 1974).
An experiment conducted on allelopathic effect of Parthenium leaf extract on
sunflower and sorghum revealed that the germination percentage, shoot and root
length, dry weight and vigour index decreased with an increase in the concentration
of Parthenium leaf extract from one to 10% (Murthy et
Effect of Parthenium Compost on Crop
Kishor et al. (2010) reported that application
of 100% N through composted Parthenium resulted in significant reduction in
plant height, tillers and root volume of plant and ultimately grain and straw
yield of wheat. This may be due to the allelopathic potential of Parthenium
(Oudhia et al., 1997, 2000)
and Integrated use of 50% recommended dose of N through each of urea and composted
Parthenium along with Azotobacter chroococcum is beneficial to target
higher yield of wheat (Table 2). Inoculation of Azotobacter
chroococcum produced 33-130 % more volume of roots as compared to its corresponding
uninoculated treatment indicating synergistic effect of composted Parthenium
on activity of organophilic Azotobacter chroococcum. Table
3 clearly showed that integrated use of Parthenium compost and Azotobacter
increased nitrogen phosphorus, potassium and sulphur acquisition in wheat than
urea and Parthenium compost. The maximum uptake N (0.67 g pot-1),
P (0.16 g pot-1), K (0.68 g pot-1) and S (0.22 g pot-1)
were recorded with treatments T7, where 50% N through each of urea and composted
Parthenium were applied with Azotobacter. This may be due to increasing availability
of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulphur in soil when integrated application
composted Parthenium (Gupta et al., 1986). Application
of nitrogen through Parthenium compost exhibited lowest value of nutrients acquisition
because application of full dose of nitrogen through composted Parthenium adversely
affected the plant growth and lower supply of nutrients. Composted Parthenium
probably had allelopathic effect and affected metabolic processes of wheat plant.
|| Effect of integrated use of composted P. hysterophorous
on growth and yields of wheat
||Effect of integrated use of Parthenium compost, urea and Azotobacter
on macro and micro nutrients acquisition of wheat
A similar trend was recorded for acquisition of Mn and Zn also. Copper uptake
was affected non significantly by the application of composted Parthenium (Kishor
et al., 2010).
The nutrient composition of composted Parthenium was higher than FYM. Hence recycling of Parthenium plants by composting and Parthenium extract seems to be an efficient way for utilizing the tremendous agricultural weeds. Composting is a resource for low external input sustainable agriculture and is also a good method for solving control weeds and pollution problems.
The authors wish to express their sincere gratitude to HOD, Soil Sci. and Agril. Chemistry Institute of Agricultural Chemistry, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India for providing necessary facilities.
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