Plant growth inhibitory activity of L-Canavanine and its mode of action

Naoko Nakajima, Syuntaro Hiradate, Yoshiharu Fujii

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20 Citations (Scopus)


L-Canavanine is a nonprotein amino acid contained in jack bean [Canavalia ensiformis (L.) DC] and shows a plant inhibitory effect. The inhibitory effect was determined by an immersion test and a microdrop test that employed rice seedlings. L-Canavanine inhibited elongation of the second leaf sheath of rice seedlings more than other natural bioactive substances, such as salicylic acid and cinnamic acid. The modified microdrop test revealed that the mode of action of L-canavanine had no relation to gibberellin synthesis. In the microdrop test, the inhibitory effect of L-canavanine was decreased by simultaneous addition of L-arginine, an analog of L-canavanine. Free amino acid analysis of rice shoots clearly showed that L-canavanine induced an unusual accumulation of L-arginine. However, accumulation of L-arginine did not cause the inhibitory effect on plant growth. These results suggest that the mechanism of inhibition of L-canavanine is closely related to the inhibition of arginine metabolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-31
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry


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