Root uptake of umbelliferone enhances pea's resistance against root-knot nematodes

Jawameer Hama, Md Al Mamun, Inge S. Fomsgaard, Mette Vestergård Madsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Coumarins are secondary plant metabolites which play a key role in plant–plant and plant–microbe interactions. In particular, they are highly involved in environmental stress responses. Coumarins can transfer from plants producing coumarins to non-coumarin-producing neighbouring plants. As in vitro studies have shown that coumarins are nematicidal, we hypothesized that this transfer may also result in enhanced resistance against plant parasitic nematodes in coumarin-receiving plants. To test if the uptake of coumarins in a non-coumarin- producing plant protects the plant against nematode attack, we incubated non-coumarin- producing pea seedlings in growth media with the coumarin umbelliferone for three weeks, after which the plants were transplanted into soil and inoculated with root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne incognita). We quantified the coumarin content in pea organs and nematode root invasion 2, 4, and 6 weeks after transplantation. Umbelliferone was taken up by the pea roots and translocated to the shoots. As a result of metabolization, umbelliferone and its derived metabolites coumarin, scopoletin, and scopolin were detected in the plants. The root uptake of umbelliferone reduced root-knot nematode invasion significantly up to 4 weeks after the root exposure. Our results suggest that the root uptake and the transfer of bioactive compounds between plants can expand the understanding of plant–plant interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105418
JournalApplied Soil Ecology
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2024


  • Co-cropping
  • Coumarins
  • LC-MS/MS
  • Meloidogyne incognita
  • Metabolization


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