Project Director

Edwards, Maurice E.


Dept. of Biological and Environmental Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Extracts from the berries of Phytolacca americana (Pokeweed) exhibit the ability to inhibit germination of a variety of seeds, including its own. This inhibition has been shown to be effective even in dilute samples of the extracts. However, it is not known whether the germination inhibition caused by these extracts is induced by physical or by chemical mechanisms. This research proposes that the germination inhibition is induced by chemical inhibitors present within the berries. In an attempt to uncover the chemical agent(s) responsible for the germination inhibition characteristics exhibited by berry extracts of Phytolacca americana (pokeberry extracts), several separation techniques were employed to resolve the vanous components of these extracts. Each of the separated partitions was then tested as to its ability to inhibit germination of Pokeweed seeds. The results of these tests indicate that the germination inhibition exhibited by the extracts of pokeberries is of a chemical nature rather than that of physical constraints placed on the seeds. In each case different partitions showed differential germination rates. These results indicate that it is possible to separate the chemical agent(s) responsible for the inhibited germination.


This research would not have been possible without the help of many individuals. I would like to thank the Biology Department, the Honors Program, and the Provost Student Research Program at the University of Tennessee-Chatt,anooga for making this research possible. I would also like to give a special thanks to Dr. Maurice Edwards for his direction in this research and for sharing with me his knowledge of Pokeweed; Becky Bell for ordering my materials and making sure I had what I needed to complete my research; Jim Narramore and the Chemistry Department for allowing me access to the analytical instruments; and Dr. Mark Bryant for his continued assistance in the design of my experiments and interpreting the resuits. Finally, I would like to give a very special thanks to my girlfriend, Dayna Lynn Balden, for putting up with my long hours in the laboratory and for the relentless time spent helping me count seeds.


B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.




Allelopathy; Pokeweed--Seeds--Production (Biology); Germination


Plant Biology

Document Type



iii, 51 leaves





Call Number

LB2369.5 .A534 1995


Included in

Plant Biology Commons