Special Issue "Secondary Metabolites and Eco-friendly Techniques for Agricultural Weed/Pest Management"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Physiology and Metabolism".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 September 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Fabrizio Araniti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University Mediterranea of Reggio Calabria; Department AGRARIA, Locality Feo di Vito, 89124 SNC, Reggio Calabria, Italy
Interests: allelopathy; secondary metabolites; essential oils; weed management; plant nutrition; metabolomics; mode of action; chemical interaction; bioherbicides
Dr. Marco Landi
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
University of Pisa; Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Via del Borghetto, 80 – 56124, Pisa, Italy
Interests: anthocyanin; chemical ecology; nutraceutic; plant ecophysiology; secondary metabolism; wild edible species
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Vito Armando Laudicina
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
University of Palermo; Department of agricultural, food and forestry science, Viale delle Scienze, Palermo, Italy
Interests: soil fertility; sustainable agriculture; plant–soil–microbial interactions; essential oils; phytotoxicity; bioherbicides; weed management
Prof. Maria Rosa Abenavoli
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Università degli Studi di Reggio Calabria, Reggio Calabria, Italy
Tel. +39 965 32407
Interests: allelopathy; phytotoxicity; mode of action; secondary metabolites; natural herbicides; mineral nutrition

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In agro-ecosystems, pests (insects, weeds, etc.) compete with crops for edaphic resources, negatively affecting both quality and crop yields. Presently, the use of synthetic herbicides and pesticides, which are easy to apply and accessible to farmers, is the most common and effective method for pest management. Nevertheless, the negative impact of these synthetic chemicals on the environment and human health together with the development of herbicide/pesticide-resistant pests are shifting the attention to alternative pest control technologies based on natural compounds. Natural or natural-like molecules, characterized by less toxicity, new sites, and multimechanisms of action, could represent a valid alternative strategy for pest control in the framework of a sustainable agriculture. Further, the diversity of molecular structures from living sources should provide novel chemical skeletons or templates that are unlikely to be produced by traditional pesticide synthesis programs. In recent years, many natural herbicides/pesticides have been isolated from bacteria to fungi; on the other hand, few natural compounds employable as herbicides for weed control have been obtained from higher plants. Therefore, this Special Issue deals with the use of secondary metabolites produced by plants for the isolation and identification of new candidates for the production of novel bioherbicides/-pesticides with new modes of action and low toxicity for the environment and human health. The Special Issue is mainly focused, but not restricted on:

  • Allelopathy;
  • Isolation and identification of natural compounds from plants with biological activity against pests;
  • Identification of the target and mode of action of pure natural molecules and/or mixtures on weed/pest physiology and metabolism;
  • Use of natural products against stored products insects;
  • Use of natural products as repellent/attractive agents against parasites (e.g., Cuscuta sp.; Orobanche sp.; Striga sp.) and pests (insects, nematodes, mites, etc.);
  • Use of allelopathic crops in crop rotation; 
  • Use of glucosinolates and/or others natural compounds as biofumigants for the management of soil-borne pathogens;
  • Synthesis of ecofriendly natural-like compounds with biological activity against weeds/pests;
  • Use of eco-friendly techniques in weed/pest management.

Prof. Maria Rosa Abenavoli
Dr. Fabrizio Araniti
Dr. Marco Landi
Dr. Vito Armando Laudicina
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Plants is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Secondary metabolites
  • Natural compounds as elicitors
  • Allelopathy
  • Essential oils in crop protection
  • Allelopathic crops
  • Botanical herbicide
  • Phytotoxins
  • Natural herbicide
  • Natural fungicide
  • Natural insecticide
  • Natural nematocide
  • Biological control
  • Omics
  • Mode of action

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Exploiting the Allelopathic Potential of Aqueous Leaf Extracts of Artemisia absinthium and Psidium guajava against Parthenium hysterophorus, a Widespread Weed in India
Plants 2019, 8(12), 552; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants8120552 - 28 Nov 2019
Artemisia absinthium and Psidium guajava are powerful sources of secondary metabolites, some of them with potential allelopathic activity. Both the species grow together in India with a weed (Parthenium hysterophorus) that is becoming extremely invasive. The aim of the present research [...] Read more.
Artemisia absinthium and Psidium guajava are powerful sources of secondary metabolites, some of them with potential allelopathic activity. Both the species grow together in India with a weed (Parthenium hysterophorus) that is becoming extremely invasive. The aim of the present research was to test the allelopathic effect of A. absinthium and P. guajava aqueous leaf extracts on seed germination, seedling growth (shoot and root length), as well as some biochemical parameters (enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants, photosynthetic pigments, osmolytes, and malondialdehyde by-products) of P. hysterophorus plants. Leaf extracts of both A. absinthium and P. guajava constrained the germination and seedling development (root and shoot length), affected pigment content (chlorophylls, carotenoids), stimulated the activity of antioxidant enzymes, and increased the level of malondialdehyde by-products of P. hysterophorus plants. Non-enzymatic antioxidants (glutathione and ascorbic acid) in P. hysterophorus leaves were, conversely, negatively affected by both leaf extracts tested in the present experiment. Although A. absinthium was more effective than P. guajava in impacting some biochemical parameters of P. hysterophorus leaves (including a higher EC50 for seed germination), P. guajava extract showed a higher EC50 in terms of root inhibition of P. hysterophorus seedlings. The present study provides the evidence that A. absinthium and P. guajava extract could be proficiently exploited as a botanical herbicide against P. hysterophorus. Full article
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